The McSherry connection

Two years after the death of his first wife, Josephine Jane JONES (November 15, 1867-May 13, 1891), from complications of the birth of her second child, Joshua Francis HODSON married her good friend, Alice McSHERRY, on June 8, 1893, in Van Wert, Ohio.

Alice McSherry in 1891.
Alice McSherry in 1891.

My great-grandmother, Alice (September 12, 1865-November 2, 1944) was the daughter of Amos and Mary Magdalene (Bayhill) McSherry.

Joshua and Alice had eight children, in addition to one son surviving from his first marriage.

Joshua died September 25, 1930, at Spiceland, Indiana.

Joshua and Alice are buried, as are most of their children and their children’s spouses, at Parrish and Arlington cemeteries, on opposite sides of U.S. 40, in the village of Arlington near Brookville, Ohio.

While the McSherry line originates in Ireland, its American pathway in Pennsylvania comes surprisingly close to a locale where nearly, if not all, of my father’s other lines had also lived – a band from Chester County west into Adams County. While most of my father’s other lines lead into the “historic peace churches” – Quaker, Brethren, and Mennonite – my McSherry root initially appeared to be “fighting Irish,” those planted along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border to enforce the opposing claims of the Penn or Calvert and Carroll proprietors in the years before the Mason-Dixon boundary quelled that protracted conflict. In a curious twist, Patrick McSherry purchased a large tract from the Digges family, with its patents from the Maryland faction; some of my grandmother’s Danner ancestors, meanwhile, had been imprisoned at one point in their confrontation with the Digges’ claims. Thickening the plot is the arrival of George Hodgson, carrying what would become my Hodson line, to also settle in along the Conewago before moving to North Carolina shortly before the McSherry entrance. In other words, as one family leaves, another arrives in the same landscape.

Expectations of a stereotypical Irish family should be tempered, however, by several factors. First, this McSherry family comes to America more than a half-century before the famed potato-famine migration. Second, unlike the later migration, the McSherry family is essentially rural rather than urban. And third, Alice McSherry’s strand wound up mixing with a good deal of Pennsylvania Dutch blood – mostly of the Fancy, rather than Plain, variety. So much of that influence appears, in fact, that Amos McSherry was arguably far more Pennsylvania Dutch than Irish by the time he settled in Ohio. I believe this will be confirmed when we finally uncover the ancestry of Amos McSherry’s wife’s mother, who was born in Lancaster County, at the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country.

When I discussed my search for McSherry ancestry with a newspaper editor at Hanover, Pennsylvania, he smiled, nodded, and said something to the effect that everybody around McSherrystown and Littlestown is “either a Catholic, a Lutheran, or a volunteer fireman.” So far, I haven’t located any volunteer firemen in the mix, but Catholics and Lutherans abound.

Occasionally in doing genealogical digging, one strikes a gold vein, coming upon a long line of connections successfully pieced together by an earlier researcher. Such was my fortune in the York County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society late one afternoon when I came upon papers by Mrs. Horace (Agnes) Winkelman of Englewood, Ohio – a researcher whose subsequent correspondence also added immensely to my understanding of my grandmother Erma (Ehrstine) Hodson’s Brethren (Dunker or German Baptist Brethren) roots. Agnes’ correspondence also linked me to the work of Gale Honeyman, then of San Francisco, one of the nation’s leading Brethren genealogists. He worked closely with Agnes in building the McSherry connections.

To quote from her letter to me of August 14, 1985:

I kept looking at the Pennsylvania map and noticed McSherrystown near Hanover and Gettysburg, and on one of my trips to York, I asked to see their files on McSherry. I found enough to prove that Patrick had lived there and that he certainly must have been a DAR Patriot. [One who could be documented to the standards for membership in and by the Daughters of the American Revolution.] I also looked at the file for Klein or Little. That was the first that I realized that we are also related to Peter Little, who was the founder of Littlestown, Pa. Patrick McSherry and his wife, Catharine Gartland, are also buried at the Catholic Cemetery, which is at the south end of Littlestown. They also attended St. Aloysius Church and were members of the large Conewago Chapel.

Shortly before encountering her reports in York, I had been in Hanover and Littleton, and drove through McSherrystown – today a village of three parallel streets with occasional cross-streets – and around the Conewago Chapel, reputed to be the first Roman Catholic parish to be established west of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. By chance, I discovered the gravestones of many of my McSherry ancestors down the highway at the St. Aloysius graveyard, though at the time I did not know for certain whether they were, indeed, my kin. (Because my great-grandmother, Alice McSherry, may have been at one time Presbyterian, I was leaning toward the possibility that her ancestry had settled what was once known as McSherrysville, now Airville, in eastern York County; that line had, indeed, been Presbyterian.)

Working from U.S. Census reports for Ohio and Pennsylvania had already given me an overview of the McSherry settlement, but multiplicity of first names tangled my labors – a situation Agnes M. Winkelman’s research overcame.

Patrick McSherry came to Pennsylvania around 1754 (some versions have the 1730s) from the northern part of Ireland; one map indicates Lurgan as their center – a curious coincidence since it was also a center of Quaker Hodgson settlement, probably including my own ancestry. In Pennsylvania, Patrick eventually owned all the lands contiguous to Conewago Chapel, a large stone 1753 Roman Catholic Church at Edgegrove, a few miles north of McSherrystown. According to one report, he purchased his land from its original owners, the Diggeses, and had a release from the Carrolls (1727-1732) of Harford County, Maryland. In another version, Patrick bought land in Conewago Township on November 14, 1763, and plotted McSherrystown in 1765. The 1790 U.S. Census reports five McSherry households in York County, which at that time  encompassed what would become Adams County. Patrick McSherry is recorded as owning five slaves and having another four free white persons working for him, or at least dwelling on the property.

A Maryland volume published by the Daughters of the American Revolution provides these data (with my underlining added:

McSHERRY, Patrick.           b. 1725 Ireland;

d. 13 July 1795 Littlestown, Pa.;

m. 1741 Catherine Gartland

Committee of Safety and Observations

Children:                                                                   (Married)

Edward, born            8 August 1755                       unmarried
Mary                           7 November 1757                 William Owings
John                            8 February 1760                   Margaretta Black (Swartz)
Patrick                        6 April 1762                           Catherine Clements
Barnabas                    30 March 1764                       unmarried
Catherine                   23 January 1766                    Richard Coale
Hugh                          6 June 1768                             Catherine Little
Val                              1770 -died in infancy
Else                             1771 – died in infancy
Joseph                        1773 – died in infancy
James                          29 July 1776                           Ann R. Sappington
Sarah                          2 February 1778                    1) Joseph Clements; 2) Andrew Will

 * * *

In examining these data and the other material, I was left noticing that the date of marriage leaves a fourteen-year gap before beginning the births of the children; I suspected, instead, that Catherine Gartland was born in 1741 and married young – something confirmed in Thomas C. McSherry’s The McSherry Family of Adams County, Pa., a talk presented to the Adams County Historical Society, Gettysburg, April 1, 1947, and preserved as a paper. He writes:

Patrick McSherry was born in Ireland in the year 1725, the son of Edward who lived north of Armagh on a farm. He married Catharine Gartland of Armagh. … We find he left Ireland with his young bride Catharine about the year 1745 and emigrated to America. … Records indicate he was a large landowner, farmer and later a merchant in Petersburg (Littlestown), Pa., where he made his permanent home.

November 14th, 1763, he purchased from the heirs of John Digges, deceased, a tract of land containing 150 acres situated in what was then called Heidelberg Township. This transfer was confirmed by a release from Charles Carroll, Sr. In 1765 this land was laid out in 60 lots, and was the beginning of McSherrystown.

Piecing together this information makes me believe a transposition occurred in recording the date of Patrick and Catherine’s journey to America: the year 1754 would seem far more probable, especially considering the dates their children are born.

A patent was issued to Patrick McSherry May 26, 1778, for 543¾th acres of land near Mount Rock which was called “CONQUEST.” Another tract of land containing 204 acres, located in Germany Township, he purchased from a George Stevenson, April 28, 1768. There were other tracts of land to which he obtained title, including lots in Petersburg (Littlestown), and it is probable that he owned as many as 1500 acres. … Title to some of this property still remains in the McSherry name.

Patrick McSherry was one of the trustees to whom the property for the first Catholic church in Littlestown was conveyed. This deed is dated February 5th, 1791, and was for ¾ acre of ground. It had a house thereon which was to be converted to a church or chapel. … [Jesuit fathers].

July 13, 1795, Patrick McSherry departed this life at the age of 70 years. He was buried in the cemetery at Conewago Chapel; later he was removed to St. Aloysius Cemetery, Littlestown, Pa., and interred there with his wife in the “Family Plot.” Catharine, the wife of Patrick, died Nov. 7, 1813, at age of 72 years. “She was a lady of exemplary Christian and moral virtues.”

By his reckoning, then, Catharine Gartland was indeed born, rather than married, in 1741. Even so, she would have been a young bride, only 13 or 14 when she first gave birth.

In his paper, Thomas McSherry also cites The 3rd Bk, John T. Reily: “Patrick McSherry was a man of strong intellect and sturdy independence of character. He took a deep interest in the welfare of the colonists, and was chosen a colonial justice. When the Revolution came, he was … chosen chairman of the committee on safety for York County Nov. 3, 1774.” Considering the subsequent flight of the Revolutionary government, using the city of York briefly as its capital and as a concealing place for the Liberty Bell (originally called the Great Quaker Bell, cast to mark the jubilee of William Penn’s granting of his pivotal charter of liberties), this position may have carried major significance as British troops approached.

* * *

Alice McSherry descends from Patrick’s seventh child, Hugh McSherry, who was born June 6, 1768, and died 1801.

Hugh McSherry married Catherine LITTLE, daughter of Peter LITTLE (KLEIN) and Ursula SCHRIEVER, and they had three sons: Barnabas, Hugh, and Richard. The Conewago Chapel records include the June 2, 1799, baptism of Hughy born October 9, 1798, to Hughy and Catharina McSherry. This household was well off: Hugh’s estate in 1800 was valued at $2,100.

Barnabas “Barney” McSherry was born March 12, 1797, and christened on April 2 at Conewago Sacred Heart in Adams County (presumably Conewago Chapel). He had eight known children, four by his first wife, Maria Elizabeth (unknown); after her death, he married Sarah LONG, with whom he had the other four, including son Amos, born November 5, 1830, in Adams County. The family migrated (with his brother Richard’s household) in 1832 to Perry Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, where the last two children were born and where Barnabas died March 20, 1868; he was buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery at Brookville; wife Sarah died March 6, 1893, at Dodson, Montgomery County, and also was buried at Pleasant Hill. Barnabas appears in the 1840 Census, dwelling in Perry Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, as does Richard McSherry. He shows up in Perry Township in the 1860 Census as Burney McCHARY Sr., 63, valued at $8,000/$700. The household includes wife, Sarah, 50, Barney, 21, and Margaret, 22.

Because Barney’s father, Hugh, died in 1801, when the son was only 4, the child apparently came under the influence of his maternal grandparents – Little/Klein, on one side, and Shively/Schriever/Schaubein, on the other. Both of these sides were Lutheran. Although I currently have no surname for Barney’s first wife, evidence demonstrates that his second wife’s family had significant Pietist or Anabaptist roots before her particular line became Lutheran or Reformed; in Montgomery County, Ohio, the Shively family was prominent in the Brethren denomination. Thus, Barney’s children by his second wife were christened at Christ Lutheran in Littlestown or at St. Matthew Lutheran in Hanover. Agnes Winkelman, in correspondence, relates:

Barney as well as his brother Hugh and Richard were all baptized at the Chapel at Conewago which I think must have still been a Log Church. Before 1800 they had started the Chapel as it is today. [The father] Hugh was Catholic and Catharine was Lutheran or Reformed. I suppose after Hugh died there was not as much pressure to remain Catholic and Catharine had the children to rear so they went to the Lutheran religion. The first three children [grandchildren?] were baptized in a Reformed or Lutheran religion. There were probably not enough women to marry in the Catholic religion and given a choice they married outside. The earliest records of the Catholics simply do not exist as far as I can discover. I have talked to more than one person and no one knows. At first, they also had priests who traveled from one place to another. Some of the earliest records are in the GOSHENHOPPEN REGISTER, 1741-1819. These records seem to have come from Berks Co., Pa. …

When Barney came to Ohio, he did have a faith in religion. He went to many revivals and heard many different ministers speak, Lutheran, United Brethren, all Protestant. There never has been a Catholic Church in the Brookville area. He donated money to each of these revivals. I don’t know the year, but finally Barney, wife Sarah, daughters Margaret, Louisa, and Sarah were all Charter Members of the Lutheran Church in Brookville. Mother sent me the clipping from the Brookville Star, but she never dated it so I don’t know the year. Amos must have been living elsewhere by that time because he is not mentioned. Catharine McSherry who married twice is mentioned in the Montgomery Co. History book by Beers as being a very religious lady. …

The Brookville Star obituary for Amos McSherry, published February 14, 1907, adds details:

Death of pioneer. The funeral of Mr. Amos McSherry occurred Tuesday morning at Bethel church. He was the father of Grant McSherry, favorably known in this vicinity, and Alice Hodson, … also the oldest brother of Barney McSherry and Mrs. Margaret Overholser [wife of Jacob]. … Barney McSherry, deceased, moved to Ohio with his wife and son Amos in the year 1832 and purchased the farm now owned by his son Barney McSherry, one of our citizens. Amos McSherry was the father of seven children, all of whom are yet living except Arthur, who died in infancy. Died a member of the Lutheran church at Van Wert, O.

Amos McSherry was born near New Berlin, Adams Co. Pa. on Nov. 5, 1830. His father Barney McSherry was twice married, to him and his first wife there were born three children, J. Worley McSherry, Mrs. Sarah Stutzman and Mrs. Rebecca Hansbarger; to him and his second wife there were born four children, Amos, Louise, Margaret and Barney. At the age of three years he came to Ohio with his father and mother. For many years he resided near Brookville. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary Bahill of Dayton on Sept. 9, 1862, with seven children: Grant, Alice, Arthur, Edward, Sarah, George, Mary. Edward died as a child. Survive: wife, 6 children, brother Barney, sister Margaret, 12 grandchildren. Joined Trinity Lutheran church here and transferred to the Lutheran church at Van Wert. Died Feb. 9, 1907, at 76 years, 3 months, 4 days. Bethel Lutheran church services [officiated by the Rev. N.H. Royer with burial at] Pleasant Hill.

Amos and Louise, by the way, were twins.

Agnes Winkelman uncovered another Shively connection: “When our Barney or Barnabas came to Ohio, he purchased the farm from a Christian Shively, son of Daniel Shively, in 1833. There were many Shively families living in this county.” Elsewhere, she writes that Christian Shively “was probably a cousin” of Barney’s. From what we know now, we can say Christian was definitely a cousin; the question remaining is which Christian: father, 1744-1834, or son, 1809-1898. More on that later.

*   *   *

In a service conducted by the Rev. James Henry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on September 9, 1862, Amos married Mary Magdalene Bayhill (July 23, 1837-August 21, 1908), and they had these children:

  1. Grant, born circa 1863, who married Althea Bayler
  2. Alice, born September 12, 1865, who married Joshua Francis Hodson
  3. Edward, born in June 1869, who married Clara Raudebaugh October 31, 1894, after the birth of their one child, Clarence, July 10, 1893; they later moved to Arkansas
  4. Sarah, born circa 1872, a teacher who never married
  5. George D., born August 21, 1875 in Van Wert County, married Jeanette Geyer on October 27, 1909
  6. Mary R., born circa 1878, a milliner
  7. Arthur, died unmarried.

In the 1880 Census Amos McSherry family is recorded living in Pleasant Township, Van Wert County.

* * *

One element the McSherry line introduces to my father’s ancestry in a significant degree is military service. Not only does Patrick McSherry actively support in the American Revolution (and is the only one to own slaves), Alice’s kin enlist for Civil War action as well. From Jeannette Hagerman comes a photocopy of a handwritten memoir, A Journal of My Experience in the Rebellion of 1861-2. She wrote, “I am sending you a copy of someone’s journal. It is either from Grandmother [Alice] Hodson’s or Ralph McSherry’s papers.” (Ralph was the only son of Grant and Althea, and he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War I.) The assumption had been that these were Amos McSherry’s recollections, yet I have been unable to find any record of his serving in the military; this account does, however, end shortly before Amos married in Ohio.

As many genealogists report, the absence of military records is not uncommon for this period. Often, a family turns to applications for pensions filed decades later as their documentation. Here is what I have found so far relating to Ohio:

  • Andrew McSherry, U.S. Army regular, no other information available.
  • Fletcher McSherry, from Ohio and Indiana. 121st Regiment, Ohio Infantry.
  • Granville McSherry enlisted April 25, 1861, and June 3, 1861, in the 10th Regiment, Ohio Infantry.
  • Henry D. McSherry, enlisted October 16, 1861, 4th Regiment, Ohio Cavalry.
  • John M. McSherry, West Virginia infantry. Margaret filed, 1890, Ohio.
  • Michael McSherry, infantry. Margaret filed in 1901, Ohio.
  • Peter McSherry Jr. – his widow Isabella files from Ontario (Ohio?).
  • Washington J. McSherry enlisted August 8, 1862. Infantry. His widow, Maud, filed for a pension in Ohio.
  • William McSherry.

John Z. Bahill enlisted April 16, 1861, age twenty-five, mustered out August 16, 1861, then reenlisted at age twenty-six as a corporal September 1, 1861. He died January 17, 1863, of wounds December 31, 1862, at Stones River, Tennessee. He is also reported as “John G.,” “John J.” and “John L. Bahill.” He is buried at the National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Initially, none of the other information I found quite fit the enlistment, mustering, or discharge dates of the paper, leaving me wondering just whose account we have. Nevertheless, from these notes we learn about a young soldier who enlisted and saw minor action in Kentucky and West Virginia before heading down to Nashville, Tennessee, and on to northern Alabama. The prose itself is pretty dry, impersonal, having few strong observations. All the same, this is something in an authentic voice that speaks of commonplace military movement:

After having returned and being discharged from the three months’ service (it being the expiration of my term of enlistment) with Captain McKinney, as Second Sergeant, for “three years or during the war” his company being in the 2nd Ohio Regiment commanded by Col Len. A. Harris then forming at Camp Dennison, Ohio.

I enlisted on the 23rd day of August and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 31st day of August, 1861. After our regiment was filled up, we were ordered into Kentucky, as we left Camp Dennison on the 25th day of September, 1861, and went to Covington, Ky., where we took a steamer and went up the Licking River about 5 miles, we landed at King’s Garden and established Camp King. We remained at this place until the evening of Sunday, Oct. 7, when we struck tents and proceeded by railroad to Paris, Bourbon County, Ky., arriving there at 5 o’clock on Monday morning, Oct. 8. Here we encamped in the county fairgrounds a very pretty place until Tuesday morning, Oct. 9, when we left Paris, and after marching all day, we arrived at a little place called Middletown, we encamped here until morning, when we resumed our march and arrived at Mt. Sterling that evening. The citizens of this place treated us very hospitably, giving the whole regiment an excellent supper. On Thursday morning, Oct. 11, we again resumed our journey, arriving in the evening of that day at the Olympian Springs. At this place we established Camp Sill [Gill? Till?], where we remained until Sunday morning, Oct. 20, when we started on a very tiresome march over an exceedingly mountainous country. We halted on Sunday evening and established Camp Garrett Davis on a mountain.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 2 o’clock we left Camp Garrett Davis for West Liberty, a little town about 40 miles from our camp. We marched all Tuesday afternoon and all that night, arriving within about a mile of West Liberty at eight o’clock the next morning. This march was a very tiresome one, from the fact that the country was very hilly and the road in a great many places was over shoe-tops with mud. We forded one creek forty times, and about a mile from West Liberty we waded the Licking River, which was waist deep. Here Col. Harris sent Capt. Benny Hill’s company forward, as an advance guard and as a decoy to the enemy in regard to our force.

The rebels in the town were four hundred strong, commanded by Capt. May, after they found out that we were coming, tho secreted themselves in the mountains, behind the rocks and trees. As soon as we got within about four hundred yards of there, they fired on us, and our regiment then started on a double-quick after them, Co. A and B and our company deploying as skirmishes. In the meantime our artillery (of which we had three pieces) took a position in a field and commenced firing, they broke and ran in every direction. After skirmishing for a while, the colonel ordered our company to enter the town, which we did, he being at our head. After we had got in the center part of town, a Secessionist sprang out from behind a corner and fired at Col. Harris. About a dozen of our boys then took after him and finally brought him to the ground after shooting him in four different places and also making twelve bullet holes in his coat.

In the skirmish they lost twelve men, while not a man on our side was scratched.

We then took possession of the town, quartering in the houses, and we fared pretty nicely, but we were not permitted to enjoy it very long, for on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 30, we left West Liberty and after marching about 20 miles, we halted and established Camp Crittenden, at which place we were joined by the 21st, 33d, and 59th Ohio Regiments, together with a Kentucky regiment and Capt. Kunckel’s battery of artillery, the whole forming a brigade commanded by Gen. Nelson.

On Monday afternoon, Nov. 5, we left Camp Crittenden for Prestonsburg, a distance of 20 miles, arriving there at 2 o’clock in the afternoon of the next day. We crossed the Big Sandy River in flatboats and entered the town, but found that the Rebels had fled.

Learning that they had gone to Piketon [Piketown], 25 miles from Prestonsburg, we started there on Friday morning, Nov. 9th, in pursuit. After marching about six miles, we came across some of their pickets, but they made off as soon as they saw us coming. We marched on very rapidly and after marching six miles farther, we found them waiting in ambush for us. The fought us pretty well for about two hours, when they again commenced their retreat. This time they left the state entirely and fled to Western Virginia.

In the fight Corporals Fish and Simpson of our company were dangerously wounded. They killed four of our Kentuckians and wounded twenty-four Ohio men, two of whom afterward died. On the headboard of one of their graves was engraved the following


 We killed forty of the Rebels, wounded fifty, and took twelve prisoners.

After resting the night, we started for Piketon the next morning. Our march was very slow, for the Rebels had blockaded the road in order to delay our advance and assist them in their retreat. We arrived at Piketon on Sunday, Nov. 10, and found the place almost entirely deserted.

On Saturday morning, Nov. 16, we were ordered to Cincinnati, for which place we willingly started that morning. We marched very hard all day Saturday, arriving at Prestonsburg at six o’clock in the evening. We remained at Prestonsburg until Tuesday, Nov. 19, when we left Prestonsburg. A great many of us went down the Big Sandy River in flatboats, and of those I was one, but as we were passing the ferry rope, it struck me on the head and over I went into the water. I was so cold then that I gave up riding on a raft and concluded to walk.

After marching all day, we halted in the evening at Paintville. The next morning we resumed our journey, and after marching all day over a very muddy and mountainous road, we halted at night at a little village called Peach Orchard.

On the morning of Thursday, 21st, we all got aboard some [coal?] barges and floated down the down the Big Sandy to a very pretty little town called Louisa.

From Louisa we were towed in the barges by the steamer Sandy Valley to Cattlettsburg. After remaining there, we got aboard the Jacob Strader (which had been sent there by the citizens of Cincinnati expressly for our regiment) and went to Cincinnati. The boat remained at the Covington wharf all day Sunday with us on board. In the evening we started for Louisville, arriving there at 5 o’clock Monday morning. We marched about five miles from the city, where we established Camp Nelson. The citizens of Louisville received us very cordially, the wharf and streets being thronged with them. A great many of our boys were taken in by the citizens and supplied with the best the city could afford. During our stay at Camp Nelson, Billy Cottom, a member of our company and a very intimate friend of mine, was shot by one of the provost guards of Louisville. We buried him in Cave Hill Cemetery. Billy had always been a good-hearted and good-natured boy, and his death cast a gloom over the whole company.

We left Camp Nelson on the morning of Dec. 9 and marched to Elizabethtown. Here Lieut. Clingman resigned and went home, and Lieut. Chambers, being very sick, went home to recruit his health, leaving no commissioned officers with the company but the captain. On the 17th day of Dec. we left Elizabethtown and marched to Camp Jefferson, Bacon Creek, Ky. Here we were attached to the division of Gen. Mitchell and Col. Sill [Gill?] took command of our brigade. During our stay at Bacon Creek, I obtained a furlough for eight days and went home.

On the 25th of Dec. Capt. McKinney and Sergt. Kibby went home sick, and I was placed in command of the company. On the 2d day of February, Sergt. Kibby returned and took command of the company, and on the 7th Capt. McKinney came back.

On the morning of Monday, Feb. 10, we left Camp Jefferson for Green River, arriving there i the evening of the same day; after crossing the river, we pitched our tents in the woods, about a mile and a half from Mumfordsville, where we remained until Tuesday, Feb. 13. On the morning of that day, we again struck tents and started for Bowling Green. We arrived at Bell’s Tavern Wednesday eve, where the division halted for the night. The next morning the whole division, excepting our regiment, again took up the [line?] of march.

On Sunday morning, Feb. 16, Mars Broad[away?] and myself visited Oceola Cave, situated about five miles from Bell’s Tavern. This was a very interesting sight, being three miles long and very spacious otherwise. We got into camp about six o’clock in the evening and found them just getting ready to come after us, supposing we were lost.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18th, we rejoined the division at Bowling Green (they having captured the place without a struggle). After remaining at Bowling Green for a couple of days, we started for Nashville, at which place we arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 25. At Nashville, we found that the Rebels had fled at our approach just as they did at Bowling Green. We established Camp Andrew Jackson about four miles from the city, where we remained until March 17, when we again started for a more remote part of Dixie. (On the 17th day of March I was promoted to Orderly Sergeant, Mr. Kibb having obtained a discharge.) We marched two days and arrived at Murfreesboro on the morning of the 19th, near which place we encamped until the morning of Thursday, April 3. At Murfreesboro, I took sick with fever and was taken to the hospital, where I remained until May 8, when I rejoined our regiment at Huntsville, Ala. We remained at Huntsville until June 13th when we were ordered to Stevenson, Ala. At Stevenson I was detached from the regiment, in charge of our company and a detail from each of the other companies (amounting in all to nearly 100 men) to take charge of our equipage which was left at Stevenson while our regiment went on to Jasper, Tenn.

On the night of the 17th an alarm was raised by the burning of a large shed and woodpile belonging to the railroad about a mile from [?]. Tho long [?] was sounded and tho men all called to arms, but during the whole night nothing more occurred than the fire.

The manuscript trails off, which, with the deteriorating nature of both his handwriting and concentration, fosters increasing brevity and initially led me to conclude that the writer had simply tired of the effort of compiling his memoir. We are left wondering just how he left the military and came home. Retracing his early troop movements on the map also demonstrates that many of the distances were much greater than the writer recorded, even “as the crow flies.” I must wonder if the soldiers were told lesser distances in an attempt to keep their spirits up. All in all, though, I was left with a feeling that this was the soldier’s big adventure, a prolonged camping experience that took him to new and exotic lands. While he records no big battles and his action seems to be often meaningless marches from one point to another, he was part of a major campaign that cost the Southern cause both Kentucky and much of Tennessee early in the war; furthermore, he did arrive near the major line: his illness at Murfreesboro occurred in a place his company left only three days before the Battle of Shiloh erupted 140 miles to the southwest. Considering the casualty rate at Shiloh, his coming down sick at this time may have saved his life.

In the chronology, I had assumed the writer was back in Ohio by September 9, 1862, when Amos McSherry married.

But, with additional data, a much different scenario emerges.

First, the paper mentions the “three months service,” which fits John Z. Bahill’s term in the 1st Ohio Infantry, Co. C, the “Dayton Light Guards,” which originated in Montgomery County and mustered out in Dayton. His dates of service are April 16, 1861, to August 16, 1861. The author mentions reenlisting after a short service. John Z. Bahill did reenlist in the 2nd Ohio Volunteers, an infantry unit whose movements mirror those of the paper. The details match except for the mention of being promoted to sergeant; Bahill died as a corporal. The chronology ends on June 17, 1862, in Alabama before the actions at Battle Creek and the pursuit back to Louisville, the Battle of Perryville, or the march to Nashville before the final, horrific Battle of Stones River near Murfreeboro – his second round in that locale. That is, the story breaks off before the real action begins.

The Battle of Stones River began in the sleet, rain, and fog of New Year’s Eve morning in 1862, and erupted into what would stand as the eighth deadliest battle of the Civil War. It was a crucial victory for the Union forces, coming half a year before Gettysburg and denying the Confederacy the essential agricultural resources of Tennessee. When the three days of fighting were over, there were 24,645 casualties – more than one in every four participants.

Bahill was among the wounded. The officer commanding the 2nd Ohio, Lt. Col. John Kell, had been killed in action, as had the lieutenant leading Bahill’s company.

Bahill died from his wounds 2½ weeks later, before he could finish his memoirs. Likely, the cause of death was infection. He was 26.

His niece, Alice McSherry, would be born 2½ years later.

*   *   *

I do not yet have a clear picture of the family movement for Amos McSherry. Why all the motion from Montgomery County to Van Wert County to Rockford and back to Montgomery County? How long did he farm and how long was he merchant? Was he good at either?

An 1890 photograph shows Mary and Amos McSherry standing in front of their store:



Aunt Vera Haddix described them: “She was slender; he was a little man, baldheaded with a long white beard. Granddad McSherry had a grocery and jewelry store in Rockford, Ohio. He would always get me a piece of candy when we visited. January 11 the fire burned them out. Then they moved to Dayton.”

Amos died February 9, 1907, and is believed buried at Abbottsville in Darke County, Ohio; Mary died the following year. Abbottsville, incidentally, is also the name of a village just north of McSherrystown in Pennsylvania.

When I was growing up, Ralph McSherry – a World War I veteran and bachelor with a history of mental illness – was a frequent guest at my grandparents’ home. He was Alice (McSherry) Hodson’s nephew, and thus my grandfather’s first cousin. To me, he was the bestower of an Army surplus pup-tent that got much use at my hands.

More recently, I received from my father a newspaper clipping for a memorial service held for George M. McSherry, born circa 1913. In 1940 he was appointed the first full-time manager for Dayton Municipal (now International) Airport. When he died at age 77, he had managed airports in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles. He left Dayton in 1947 to work for the New York Port Authority and managed the development of Idlewild Field (now Kennedy International) into a major airport. The service was at St. Henry Roman Catholic Church.

*   *   *

A clearer picture comes in A Portrait and Biographical Record of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, Ohio, Part 1, published in 1896. Here the family is pointedly described as being of Scottish descent, presumably to deflect any association with the Roman Catholic Irish, and Amos has attended a business college in Dayton and graduated from Lutheran-based Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio. In addition to teaching school, his business dealings include being a watch and clock retailer, a real estate and lumber trader, and a drug-goods store owner with time in Indiana as well as Ohio.

Son Edward is also portrayed as a popular up-and-coming entrepreneur.

And the parents of Amos’ wife are named as David and Sarah (Ziegler) Bahill of Montgomery County, Ohio.

And now, in correspondence, Sherry Phillips, a descendant of Edward, thickens the plot: “Grandmother Stella’s (Sept. 7, 1878 – June 1967) Bible entries record her marriage to Edward B. McSherry (June 9, 1869 – Sept. 15, 1941). The research I found had him as having married in 1894.” However, as she notes, “He and Stella married June 28,1903. They were married in the Calvary Reform Church in Cleveland, Ohio, by Pastor A.D. Wolfinger. Their first of nine children was born Sept. 17, 1903 – you do the math. The children were Edna, Edwin (severe epileptic committed suicide), Edith, Earl, Elma, Elmer, Elbert Eugene, Ernest, Earline (my mother – the menopause child). Earl and Ernest died within 6 months of birth – both were hydrocephalic.”

(I love their fondness for using the letter E as the beginning of their children’s names.)

“Grandmother Stella was working for the telephone company as an operator in Cleveland, Ohio, when they met. Grandfather was nine years older than her. Ralph’s letter of 1/17/1947 references my mother having a half-brother named Clarence and half-sisters Charlotte and Lucy? Aunt Edith remembered Grandfather’s children from his first marriage as being named Clarence, Gladys and Charlotte.

“She said she thought Grandmother Stella’s family worked on a large plantation in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father and mother were Charles Edwin Wolf and Lanora Francis Brown. Grandmother never would discuss it but she was supposed to have been a full-blooded Ottawa native American. I did find a Stella Wolf on the Durant role.

“My Aunt Edith told me she remembered (she was around 6 years old) the family hurriedly packing up and boarding the train and leaving Dayton, Ohio, during the ‘Great Flood of 1912.’ [That was in March of 1913, a catastrophic event in the Miami Valley’s history.] She said they got the last train out before the railroad bridge, running into town, was washed away. She said they moved to Texas from Dayton and then on to Arkansas in 1914.”

Sherry sent me a copy of Ralph’s letter, and I will acknowledge he knew how to write a newsy, compelling letter.

*   *   *

Now, for more about the related lines:

McSHERRY: Thomas C. McSherry spoke of the family’s Irish roots:

“A little to the west of Kinsale in Cork,” says Joyce in Irish Names and Places, is the bay and marine village of Courtmacsherry, [that is] the Court of Geoffrey’s Son or MacSherry. “The person who built the Court or residence there and gave the place its name was an Englishman who came from Shropshire, but the family degenerating into Irish customs, assumed the name of McSherry. The original MacSherry is still vividly remembered in the traditions of the neighborhood.” During the days of Cromwell’s Protectorate, James and Edmond Hodnet MacSherry were outlawed as Catholics and royalists and dispossessed of a large tract of land in and about Timoleague and Clonakilty, which the family [had] owned in Queen Elizabeth’s time. The title of Courtmacsherry was given by the Protector in 1642 to one of his followers, a Major Gaskins.

I must caution some of this account: since Charles I was not beheaded until 1649, there may be some slippage in dates. Further research will be required.

The MacSherrys when driven from their ancestral home in the County of Cork by Cromwell after many wanderings settled in Ulster. In the next century we find them in the Counties of Armagh, Monayhan and Down. For several generations there is nothing known of the MacSherrys except that they took to farming and were distinguished for their adherence to the Catholic Faith.

It is a tradition of the MacSherry family that the Macsherrys are descended from the Court Macsherry refugees but no near relationship can now be traced between the Armagh Branch and the Monoyhan and Down families.

North of Armagh in the County of Armagh lived one of the McSherrys, probably Edward by name, who was the father of a large family, including Patrick, my great-grandfather; Bernard and Barnabas.

Barnabas apparently joined Patrick in the move to America. It is known that he fought as a member of the 6th Company, 1st Pennsylvania Troop, in the Revolution, served on the first grand jury in Adams County, August 4, 1800, and owned a small place on Marsh Creek in Liberty Township. He died March 2, 1824, without issue. Bernard remained in Ireland, where he had a son, Hugh.

*   *   *

GARTLAND: Some of the currently lost McSherry Irish materials may in time turn up, opening an awareness of this family’s origins.

*   *   *

BAYHILL/BAHILL: Although Amos McSherry’s wife, Mary Magdalene Bayhill, is born in Ohio (July 23, 1837), she comes from Pennsylvania stock. Entries in what appears to have been George McSherry’s family Bible record her father, Daniel Bahill, born in Chester, February 24, 1810, and Mother Bahill born in Lancaster County, July 21, 1815. Other entries have a David Bahill, possibly Daniel’s brother, wedding Sarah ZIGLER, March 5, 1835. Who are they and what cultures do they embody? Just how deeply Pennsylvania Dutch is Mother Bahill’s line?

A crucial clarification is found in A Portrait and Biographical Record of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, Ohio, Part 1. There Mary Bahill’s parents are named as David Bahill and Sarah Zeigler.

*   *   *

From the Bible, we learn that Mary Magdalene’s siblings included:

  • John, born March 11, 1836. (Apparently, the Civil War soldier, deceased.)
  • Anne “Annie” Elizabeth, born July 20, 1839; she married a Mr. Bowzer on December 18, 1862.
  • Rachel Alice, born August 16, 1841; married George Taylor, June 11, 1860.

Their male line, then, was extinguished by the war.

As I consider this family, I notice a 14-year break in the children, from Rachel Alice to the birth of Mary Magdalene. Is something amiss here? I am also left guessing that John’s middle initial, Z, is for Zigler or Zeigler or some variant.

*   *   *

Getting the Bayhill/Bahill line much beyond this point has been quite perplexing.

The most intriguing entry is a John M. Bahill, born in 1822 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 12 years after Daniel Bahill is born one county to the east. If they are siblings, this would put Daniel in place to marry a Lancaster County woman, as he does. John’s parents (including Mary H.) are both born in Pennsylvania, and he has a sister, Mary, born in 1827. Files posted by Gene Dana go no further on John’s ancestry, though his wife’s lines unfold in depth – surnames including HUNSECKER, LONGNECKER, SCHMIDT, HAURI, SNEBELY, LUESCHER, LUETHI, HESS, GERBER, BLASER, GAUMANN, NEUSCHWANDER, ERB, IMHOFF, WUTHRICH, STEINER, ANTHONI, ROETHLISBERGER, SCHENK, LIECHTI, FUNKHOUSER/FANKHOUSER, MANN, ROS, JANNI, BACHWEILER. In other words, he marries into quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch stock, with many of the lines leading back to 16th century Switzerland.

Combining this with the mention of a Zigler spouse, another Pennsylvania Dutch line, would support the argument that Bahill is an anglicized version of a German surname. The problem has been in determining precisely which one, or even how much of a transmigration we can expect from one language to another.

*   *   *

Palatine ship arrivals in Colonial Philadelphia include Johann Peter Beyl, October 9, 1747, on Restauration; Heinrich Beyl, October 13, 1747, on Two Brothers; Michael Bihl, 28, 1748, on Patience & Margaret; Johann Philip Biehl, 1749, on Elliott; and Johannes Ludwig Biel and Johannes Wilhelm Biel, both 1750 on Anderson. Any of these phonetically recorded names could become Bahill.

Another argument has the family originating in a Hessian soldier who deserts and remains in the New World. Here the name moves from Pahule and Pahel into Beichel and Bahel. A son, John, born circa 1802, weds in Chester County one Ann (unknown), born circa 1815.

Other hints arise. A Samuel Peghel is found in the 1790 Census for Londonderry Township in Chester County. A John Beyl weds, 1791, Dorotha Seider, daughter of Elizabeth and Jacob Scheimier. Burials in New London Presbyterian cemetery in Chester County include not only descendants of Robert Hodgson (whom I discuss in a related paper, Other Early Hodgsons), but also Bahel: Martha (1852, 56 years), Thomas (1855, 61 years), Samuel (1863, 42 years; a Civil War private), and George W. (1867, age 11).

Whether any of these ultimately lead to the McSherry line remains to be discovered.

*   *   *

Turning to Amos McSherry’s mother, Sarah Long, reveals one strand of Pennsylvania Dutch influnce.

*   *   *

LONG: Frederick County, Maryland, administrative accounts of August 20, 1816, include “The first official account of Samuel Swope Administrator of Samuel Long late of Frederick County deceased.” Long’s wife, Catharine, was originally a Swope. The estate was divided equally among the widow and John Long and Sarah Long, presumably the children. Sarah would have been a 5-year-old child.

The Longs likewise appear to be a Pennsylvania Dutch family.

Brethren historian Donald F. Durnbaugh writes of Moravian missionary August Gottlieb Spangenberg’s “voluminous and diligent reports to German and The Netherlands of religious conditions in Pennsylvania. … Among the recipients of his reports [was] Isaac Le Long (1683-1762), of German birth and Huguenot ancestry [and now] a publisher of books in Holland. His publications on the Moravians did much to make them famous, if controversial. He was a leading figure in a Dutch society for furthering Moravian missionary efforts in the New World.”

The Brethren (Dunker or German Baptist Brethren) denomination’s first immersion in the New World was held December 25, 1723, after services began at Peter Becker’s house in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Among the 17 people present was Frederick Lang. Later, Valentine Lang is among the early members of the 1748 Northkill Dunker congregation 15 miles from Reading. Charles Lang is recorded as being baptized July 12, 1767, by Alexander Mack at Germantown.

A Johannes Lang/Long was born by 1643, “probably in Germany,” and his Long descendants are among the Anabaptists in Pennsylvania, according to a review of Marie J. Peer’s 1990 John Rudy and Mary Gahman: Their Ancestors and Descendants. At any rate, a number of Longs turn up in both Brethren and Mennonite ancestry. One query, for instance, mentions a John Lang Jr. of Manheim, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as a possible parent of a Joseph Long born 1794.

Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, July 1987, documents a John Long I (June 10, 1693-February 5, 1767; a 1716 immigrant), who married Anna Schnebele (1709-after 1764; a 1723 immigrant). Their son was John Long II (September 1, 1730-1817); his son, John Long III (1756-1838) married Mary Hershey (1763-1856), and their daughter Esther was born 1783 at Landisville in Lancaster and buried in 1880 in Manheim Township.

Another query seeks information on Johann Michael and Christina (Hacker) Lang, who immigrated to Philadelphia on the ship Rawley on October 23, 1752. The Langs had one son, Johann Michael (born October 15, 1757), and apparently [through the Hacker connection] were part of Emanuel Lutheran church in what is now Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County.

An Isaac Long owned a very large thatched-roof barn near Oregon, near the Landis Valley of Pennsylvania. During a historic Wesleyan-influenced revival held there in 1767, Mennonite bishop Martin Boehm of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and German Reformed minister Philip W. Otterbein of Baltimore met each other and, after the service, embraced each other as brethren, launching what would become in 1800 the first denomination to be created in North America, the United Brethren in Christ. It would eventually include many of my grandmother’s ancestors and be the church of my youth. Also participating in the revival were clergy and laity from Lutheran, Moravian, Amish, and Dunker (Brethren) faiths.

*   *   *

SWOPE/SCHWAB: Sarah Long, the second wife of Barnabas McSherry,  was the daughter of Samuel Long and Catherine Swope. Catharine, in turn, was the daughter of John Adam Swope of Littlestown.

John Adam Swope was the son of John Swope.

Here, then, are details:

John Swope was the son of Yost Swope or Schwab, whose life is examined in The Swope Family Book of Remembrance by Emily Swope Morse and Winifred More McLachlan (a paper dated 1972). The introduction opens with a detailed summation of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), which left Germany decimated and was a major factor in family migrations in the period. Anyone tracing Anabaptist families, especially, encounters its impact.

The two women then write:

The earliest information we have about Jost Schwab (Yost Swope) is his marriage to Anna Katharina Wolfhardt in Duhren bie Sinsheim near Heidelberg, 27 May 1681. George Schwab was the father of Jost. He was a citizen and councilman in Sinsheim in 1681 which is another village near Heidelberg. Jost Schwab’s age was forty-six when he transferred his citizenship from Duhren to Leimen in 1702. This indicates that he was born about 1656. … Many of the parish records of this area were destroyed during the Thirty Years War, and again in 1689 by the armies of Louis XIV of France. It was in 1689 that the parish register of Sinsheim was destroyed, and so the record of birth of Jost Schwab and his brothers and sisters is lost to us.

Nevertheless, they do include a chart for Jost or Justus Schwab, a master-baker, naming his parents as Georg Schwab and Margaretha Zimmerman (1611-1695). [Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, January 1989, includes part of this line, giving circa 1610-before 1689 as Georg Schwob’s dates, and 1613-March 27, 1695, for Margaretha; for Yost Schob/Swope, dates given are 1656-1727.] Jost’s May 17, 1681, marriage was to Anna Katharina Wolfhardt or Wohlfahrt [October 9, 1662-], daughter of Hans Jorg Wolfhardt (1639-1712) and Anna Hagi or Haagen (circa 1643-1673). The 25-year-old Jost was a member of the Reformed Church in Sinsheim, his 17-year-old bride was Lutheran, and they married in the beautiful choir room of the Lutheran Church in Duhren, a village near Sinsheim, where her grandfather, Georg Johann Wolfhardt/Wohlfahrt had been minister during the Thirty Years War. Jost and Anna Catharina settled in Duhren, where he was a baker and their children were baptized in the Lutheran Church. Jost is believed to have departed from Leiman, possibly with other relatives, for the trip down the Rhine to the sea in May 1720; although it is not known how many of the children came with him, the authors deduce that all but Hans Georg were included, and he then made the trip in 1727. Jost died in Leacock (now Upper Leacock) Township in what was then Chester County but is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with an administrator of his estate being appointed January 29, 1727.

The ninth of Jost and Anna Katharina’s eleven children was Johannes, or John, born May 26 or 27, 1704, and christened May 28 in Leiman. He married first, in 1725, Anna Dorothea Lein, daughter of Johannes Lein/John Line [Long?] of Leacock Township, Lancaster County, and they had 10 children. After Anna Dorothea’s death, he married on May 25, 1742, Catharina Elisabeth Graff/Grove (October 22, 1715-August 14, 1776) and they had nine children, including Johann Adam, born May 2, 1756, and christened July 11, 1756, at Trinity Lutheran in Lancaster. In Upper Leacock Township he was a potter and farmer affiliated with Salem (Hellers) Reformed Church, although two children were christened at the Lutheran Church in New Holland, Lancaster County. He died December 18, 1780, and both he and Catharina Elisabeth are reported buried at Hellers Church. The authors call him the “ancestor of many Americans” of Swope lineage.

Johan Adam married Sarah Grabill and died February 7, 1821, presumably at Littlestown. Their daughter, Catharine, married Samuel Long.

*   *   *

GRABILL: This is a prolific Mennonite line, with Graybill, Grebil, Kraybill, Krebuhl, Krebiel, and Krehbiel among its variant spellings.

Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, October 1991, discusses “Elizabeth Kendig Grebill, widow of Henry Grebill, who had come to North America with other Mennonite pioneers of the Groffdale area on the ship Molly in 1729. The first daughter of Heinrich Kundig, a Mennonite teacher in Grombach, Germany, and his first wife, Elizabeth was the mother of two young children” before wedding Conrad Hildebrand, a 1732 immigrant. Conrad and Elizabeth settled in North Carolina in the 1760s. When Henry Grebill/Creybill’s estate was inventoried in 1738, it included a 260-acre tract in Cocalico Township he had purchased in 1736 and named son John Grebill of Earl Township, who was about 4 years old when his father died. Whether this is connected with our lines remains to be seen.

*   *   *

WOLFHARDT/WOHLFAHRT: Michael Wolfahrt was one of the leaders in the Ephrata Community, or Ephrata Cloister, a celibate monastic offshoot of the early Brethren movement. Known as Brother Agonius, or among the English speaking as Michael Welfare, he joined Conrad Beissel at a new house in the wilderness of the Conestoga area in autumn 1721, where they began visiting among widespread Brethren and beginning what would become a division among the Dunkers. He died at Ephrata, May 20, 1741, “in his 55th year.”

I wonder, of course, whether and how he might relate to Jost Swope’s wife, another Wolfahrt.

*   *   *

Catharine Little, wife of Hugh McSherry and mother of Barnabas McSherry, also comes from Pennsylvania Dutch stock.

*   *   *

LITTLE/KLEIN: The German roots are obvious. Other spellings, including Cline and Kline, may add to the difficulty in piecing together this family.

A Johann Wolf Klein came early to Pennsylvania from near Sinsheim, Germany, where the line is traced to the mid-1600s, and where we also find the Mennonite Groff family.

In the January 1987 Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Joanne K. Hoover writes of Elizabeth Township, originally part of Warwick Township. She notes:

A brief introduction to the Kleins should be made because they can be traced through the church registers in Kirchardt in the Palatinate. We have already met Jacob Klyne [as 1744 trustee for White Oak Reformed and Lutheran union church], who received a warrant for 176 acres in 1737 in Warwick Township. This is the Jacob Klyne who with two others was granted a warrant in 1744 “for Use of the Lutheran Congregation Situate in Warwick Township,” or Emanuel Lutheran Church at Brickerville. The congregation itself may have been founded earlier. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg noted that “the Warwick congregation is one of the first and oldest in the province.” During the Revolutionary War this church was used as a hospital.

George Cline, a brother of Jacob, was a Warwick Township warrantee [but] had no children.

In the magazine’s October 1986 issue, Julie Evans Best mentions a Johann Ulrich Bar, who had been baptized at the Lutheran church at Ittlingen in the Pfalz in 1689 and died in 1749 in Elizabeth Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, married on November 19, 1715, as his first wife Anna Klein (December 25, 1693-1730), daughter of Hans Michael Klein (born 1656) and Susannah Elisabetha Wohlgemuth (born 1658) of Kirchardt, where the wedding was performed in the Reformed church.

Also mentioned is a Anna Bar, baptized March 28, 1652, who married Hans Jakob Kleiner of Wadenswil February 22, 1676.

This Bar/Baer/Bear family, with many Mennonite roots and situated not far from Zurich, Switzerland, is closely related to the Groff/Graff/Grove family.

*   *   *

GRAFF/GROFF/GROVE: The April 1990 issue of Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage contains “Swiss Origins of Groff, Hess, Weber, Landis, and Oberholtzer Families” by Jane Evans Best. Her data have Catharine Elizabeth Greve, b. Oct. 22, 1715; d. Aug. 24, 1776, bu. Heller’s Cem., Upper Leacock Twp.; 9 ch. M. Nov. 2, 1742, by Justice Emanuel Carpenter, John Swope, b. May 26, 1704, Leiman, Heidelberg, Germany; d. Dec. 18, 1780; potter; widower; son of Jost Schwab and Anna Katharina Wolfherdt.

As Catharine’s parents: Jacob Groff, b. before 1690; (his estate inventory) Dec. 3, 1730, Cocalico Twp., Lancaster Co.; immigrated ca 1726. M. Elizabeth

As Jacob’s parents: Marx Graf, bap. Nov. 1, 1640, Baretswil; d. before Apr. 26, 1716; in 1649 lived with parents. M. – d. after Apr. 26, 1716, when she lived in Steinsfurt [according to Mennonite Census Lists, 1664-1793].

As parents of Marx: Jakob Graf, bap. Jan. 28, 1616, Baretswil; d. after 1683; in 1633 listed as Hans Jacob, aged 18; in 1634 lived with his mother; in 1637 lived with his wife and son in his mother’s household in Bettswil; in 1640 lived in Bettswil with his wife and 2 ch.; in 1646 was an Anabaptist living in Wirzwil with his wife and 6 ch.; in 1651 moved near Sinsheim, Germany, with his wife and 7 ch.; in 1661 attended Steinfsurt meeting; in 1661 and 1683 lived at Steinsfurt. M. June 21, 1636, Anna Sporri of Wolfensberg near Bauma, Baretswil, the daughter of Jacob Sporri.

“After they [Jacob] left in the spring of 1651, two of Jacob’s children died, one after being shot by soldiers. Jacob arranged with the Landvogt (governor) of Gruningen for a penalty fund. … On October 5, 1656, [he] signed a petition to the Elector of the Palatinate requesting leniency on behalf of the “Manisten alld Wider Tauffer” (Mennonites and Anabaptists) at Steinsfurt, who were poor and simply hired help and employees of the state.” He was fined for attending, with four members of his household, the 1661 Mennonite meeting.

As parents of Jakob: Hans Graf, b. before 1590; d. between 1625 and 1633, called Gusel; lived at Baretswil, Zurich, Switzerland. M. March 22, 1612, Baretswil, Elisabeth Peter of Aaruti, Fischenthal, b. ca. 1588; d. between 1637 and 1640; in 1633 widow aged 45, Anabaptist for 7 years; in 1634 living in Baretswil, with 4 ch.

Incidentally, Best observes that not all of the child baptisms were made with their parents’ consent.

*   *   *

Catharine Little’s mother continues the lines into Pennsylvania Dutch stock.

*   *   *

SHIVELY/SCHRIEVER/SCHAUBEN: In attempting to determine ancestry of Catharine Little’s mother, Ursula Shriever, researcher Agnes Winkelman was drawing a blank until she discovered the parents were Christian Shauben or Shivley and Barbara Spitler – two Brethren (Dunker or German Baptist Brethren) lines that Gale S. Honeyman is well versed in and that have significant Montgomery County, Ohio, connections.

She remarks: “The Shively people were noted for high intelligence, able to work well with their hands, and very capable.” She then details some of their cabinetry work, now considered of museum quality.

By the time the Shively family moved to Ohio, where Christian (Sr.) purchased four Montgomery Country tracts in 1807 and where he had a Long as his tenant, they had become part of the Dunker church: nine of the 19 marriages reported, 1804-1825, are by Dunker ministers; most of the rest, by justices of the peace.

Shirley Keller Mikesell’s Early Settlers of Montgomery County, Ohio: Genealogical Abstracts From Land Records, Tax Lists, and Biographical Sketches (Heritage Books, 1991), has many transactions involving Shively members, as well as this from the 1882 W.H. Beers & Co. county history:

CHRISTIAN SHIVELY SR. a native of Maryland (his father from Switzerland), to Ohio from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, in 1805. Wife Susanna, seven children: Christian Jr., Jacob, Elizabeth, Susana, sons all married at time of arrival except John, David. Christian Jr. married Susan Grip –

yet another Dunker marriage, apparently not in Montgomery County. (Her father was an influential Dunker preacher.)

A query in the October 1991 Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage seeks “information on Uhli/Ulrich/Woolrich Shively (b. 1721, Oberdorf, Switzerland; d. ca. 1766), who m. before 1745, Elizabeth Thommen/Thomas (d. after 1777, Md.). In 1745 they sold their land in Warwick Twp., Lancaster Co., Pa., inherited from her father. Known children are Christian, Isaac, Jacob, John, Catherine. They may have moved to York Co., Pa., then to Md., either Frederick Co. and/or Carroll Co.”

The January 1989 issue of that journal reports a John Musselman, b. Feb. 1787, Huntingdon Co., Pa.; d. 1860, Carroll Co., Ind. m. Susannah Shively, b. 1791; d. 1870; dau. of Jacob Shively and Elizabeth Martin of Montgomery Co., Ohio. Their son, David, b. 1814, Montgomery Co., Ohio, d. 1852, Carroll Co., Ind., m. Esther Shively.

Considering the Maryland connection, I would suspect that Elizabeth Martin was the daughter of Jacob Martin Jr. and Elizabeth Tabler, coincidentally discussed at length in the October 1991 Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage already cited.

Attempting to piece together these available facts suggested to me that Ulrich Shively had brothers joining him in the emigration from Switzerland to Pennsylvania. From one of them, then, came Ursula.

This hypothesis was confirmed both in a query in the July 1991 Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage and in the major article in the Fall 1991 Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists Newsletter, “The Christian Shively/Barbara Spitler Family of Swiss Origin,” compiled by Elizabeth Miller Lane and Donald Bowman:

In the village of Oberdorf, Canton of Baselland, Switzerland, Christian Schaublin was the fifth of six children born to [blacksmith] Durs Schaublin and Margaret Straumann (daughter of Christen Straumann and Agnes Gotschin). On 14 July 1708 in the District of Waldenburg, Canton of Baselland, [their son?] Christian Schaublin was married to Barbara Spithaler (later called Spitler), born 9 August 1689 in the village of Benwil. Evidently, they lived in the village of Oberdorf where their 13 children were all born, as listed in the baptismal register of the Waldenburg District of the Reformed Church. (Some of the children, including the first, may have died young.)

Children of Christian Schaublin (Shively) and Barbara Spitler: 

  • Margaretha, born 21 July 1709
  • Hans Jacob, 2 April 1711
  • Barbara, 8 January 1713
  • Margaretha, 18 February 1714
  • Elsbeth, 1715
  • Catharina, baptized 28 February 1717
  • Christian, 25 December 1718
  • Durss, 24 August 1720
  • Ulrich, 2 January 1722
  • Anna, 6 November 1723
  • Jacob, baptized 19 May 1726
  • Ursula, baptized 14 March 1728
  • Magdalena, baptized 18 May 1730

The seven children who accompanied their parents … to America in 1736 were listed in an entry in the manumission records of Basel, Switzerland: Barbara, Catherine, Christian, Uhli (Ulrich), Anna, Ursula, and Magdalena. The record also states that Christian Schaublin had property worth 1,700 Basel pounds, of which he was taxed 190 pounds on receiving permission to emigrate.

Christian Schaublin, no doubt, decided to emigrate from Switzerland to Pennsylvania because of his religious convictions, acquired either from teachers in the Pietistic or Anabaptist movements. The family left Basel on 8 April 1736 and arrived in Philadelphia of 15 September, a journey of 4 months 17 days on the ship Princess Augusta from Rotterdam, Samuel Marchant, Master. [Note: some of that time would have involved getting from Basel to Rotterdam and then acquiring passage, rather than being spent entirely at sea.] In List A of the Palatines on the ship, the father is listed as “Christian Sheybly,” age 51, with his oldest son, “Christian Sheybly,” age 17; in List B, their name is given as “Scheublin.” The ages of the seven children would have been from 23 to 6 years.

On 11 April 1745, “Christian Shieply” patented 317 acres of land in Coalico Creek in Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. … In 1752, Ulrich Shively is said to have bought a tract of land, “Three Rivers,” in the vicinity of Beaver Creek, Maryland, along modern State Highway 66, and two miles northeast of the Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren. Shively families later lived in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, before coming to Ohio.

The second PMH query adds some details:

SCHAUBLEIN: I seek information on Christian Schaublein (b. Nov. 6, 1683, Oberdorf, Switzerland; d. ca. 1752, Lancaster Co., Pa.). He married Barbara Spitteler (b. Aug. 9, 1689, Switzerland; d. Jan. 9, 1759, York Co.). … They may have settled briefly in Chester Co., Pa.
– Lancaster County originally having been part of Chester County.

At this point, I do not know the compiler’s reason for assuming the family had come under Pietist or Anabaptist teachers in Switzerland, although the probability remains strong. I would simply like evidence. The compiler also notes many marriages of first cousins in successful generations. She also observes:

One of the most useful pioneers in the early settlements of Montgomery County, Ohio, was Christian Shively Jr. (1770-1836), a man of large stature and great strength. He was skillful as a cabinetmaker, undertaker, physician, and bonesetter. After his arrival in the community in 1805, he was always chosen to be the captain or foreman at log-raisings. In any physical activity, he was excelled by none.

For a time, the Christian Shively family themselves lived in a rudely built log cabin, as did all the pioneer country folk. When Christian Shively built his two-story stone house in 1811 for $100, it was the talk of the countryside, for it was the first real “house” in Madison Township.

Although this account has no additional information on Ursula, I include these details because her grandson, Barnabas McSherry, would find himself among these kinfolk as his neighbors in the northwest corner of Montgomery County. In fact, I suspect that their reports drew him westward.

*   *   *

SPITLER: A likely possibility as Barbara Spitler’s siblings may be found in the colonial Codorus congregation, as reported in Donald F. Durnbaugh’s The Brethren in Colonial America (Elgin, Illinois, 1967). Codorus is “in a township of the same name in the county of York, eleven miles from the town of York, and ninety-nine miles WhS from Philadelphia. … They began to be a church about the year 1758.” Among the earliest members were Jacob Spitler and wife and two daughters and William Spitler and wife. A few years later, my grandmother’s Ehrstine ancestry joined the congregation.

This Spitler link would be in the right time frame and locality to fit the Little/Klein connection.

Crucial points for further research

The maternal sides of McSherry in Ireland, especially, require development.

More work needs to be done on some of Amos McSherry’s ancestry on this side of the Atlantic, especially regarding the Bahill/Bayhill puzzle. For now, Bahill remains the principal section of my father’s ancestry that does not yet connect definitively to pre-Revolutionary War America.


30 thoughts on “The McSherry connection”

  1. Hello, so very excited to discover this blog post! My husband is a McSherry decendant. Patrick – John – Andrew – Sarah Matilda married Alfred Platt Starr. I am still digesting the information you have provided. Hope to connect!


  2. I am Daniel McSherry of 31 Springhill Road, Glenanne, Co.Armagh, BT60 2LF. Northern Ireland. Patrick McSherry (Married to Catherine Garland) who left Co.Armagh in 1752 and was responsible for the development of McSherrys town was my great grandfather (Patrick 1821-1891) great uncle. I live on the farm in the townland of Lisdrumchor which has been in the McSherry family for five generations and also own the lands in the town of Ballylane which was farmed by Patrick’s brother Bernard(1729-?).

    We are holding a McSherry Gathering in the townlands of Lisdrumchor and Ballylane on Saturday 28th June 2014. If you have any McSherry memorabilia, photographs you wuld like displayed please get in touch. If you have Ballylane McSherry genes in your blood you are more than welcome to attend. Do get in touch and book your flights early. Contact by email at: or

    Many thanks

    1. Danny, how wonderful to hear from you and learn of these additional connections! Everything I have is up on the post, so feel free to copy and circulate it however you wish. For me this is the real delight of being able to put these notes online where others can share the material, refine it, add to it.
      For instance, this is the first I’ve heard that the correspondence to Ireland continued, apparently for decades.
      Earlier online correspondence gave me the details that allowed me to construct my likely Hodson/Hodgin/Hodgson line back to the mid-1500s in Lamplugh, Cumbria, just a few miles from White Haven, before they relocated to Lurgan in Armagh.
      Could it be that my Quaker Hodgsons knew my Catholic McSherrys there before the lines crossed again in Ohio? (They almost crossed in-between in Adams County, Pennsylvania, except that my Hodgsons left a few years before the McSherrys arrived.)
      I appreciate the invitation but doubt I’ll be traveling in the coming year. Still, as you can see, I have many reasons for wanting to visit.
      In the meantime, perhaps other kin will chance across this and tell you they’re coming.
      Feel free to add to this post, and many, many thanks for the note.

    2. So glad I found this article. I came across the Gettysburg Times newspaper which gave a lot of information about Patrick and his 2 brothers (Barnabus and Bernard). With that it mentioned the brief history of 1649 Court MacSherry. Which left me to do more digging. I stumbled across this blog. Patrick McSherry is my husband’s 7x great grandfather. His daughter, Mary McSherry married William Owings which led to many descendants. I have been working on my husband’s ancestry. I was curious to know if any information has been found on the McSherry’s during the 1640’s going back?

      Thank you

      1. No, my primary source for the early material was Agnes Winkelmann, who reported running into nothing solid prior to Patrick. Am I right in assuming your Owings connect with the ones at Owings Mills, Maryland, where I lived for two years?
        My primary reason for putting all of my material online in this blog is in the hope that it might help others like you, especially when they add to the bigger picture. Wonderful meeting you, Melissa.

  3. I am Sherry Phillips, my mother was the dtr of Edward B McSherry & Stella Wolf McSherry. Edward B son of Amos McSherry. I have several letters Ralph C. McSherry wrote to my mother and would share them if anyone is interested – some info re: Edwrd B and his first marriage and children. Was thrilled to find this info as my research usually ended at a dead end. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. How wonderful to hear from you. We can both thank Agnes Winkelman for sharing her detailed research decades ago now.
      So now the dead end is pushed back a bit further, while all of the Bayhill/Bahill mystery remains.
      As you can see, the obituary for Amos was in error in listing Edward as predeceased. In addition, I had no middle initial (or middle name) for Edward, which could be a clue to his mother’s side. Nor was I aware of his second marriage. So in sharing, we have new opportunities to fill in the picture.
      I would love to see copies of Ralph’s letters. Sometimes some telling details emerge, too.
      And don’t forget, we have an invitation to the family reunion in Ireland this summer. Just in case you need an excuse to go.

      1. Email me at jnanahodson(at)yahoo(dot)com (substituting the “at” and “dot” for the usual, of course), and we can continue the conversation.
        And Happy New Year!

  4. Great work here. I am a descendant of Mary McSherry / William Owings. Would you have any more information on Mary McSherry as the DAR is making me prove her relationship with Patrick McSherry. They state the previous filed records are not up to standards. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Oh, if only Agnes Winkelman were still around! She was proud of her DAR membership, which she established through her McSherry line.
      I’m not sure how much of her research has been deposited in the Brookville Historical Society near Dayton.
      Isn’t William Owings also related to the family that settled Owings Mills near Baltimore? That might be another way of approaching this.
      Good luck.

  5. So thrilled to have found this. I’m a direct descendant of Patrick, though I cannot remember/have not discovered much between him and my grandfather (Roland McSherry of Dayton, Ohio). I know I’m from Washington Jefferson’s line, though. I have had an incredibly difficult time finding information on the McSherrys. My dad doesn’t like to discuss the McSherry side because of his difficult relationship with his father, and my grandmother and grandfather passed away several years ago, before my passion for ancestry developed. I’m not sure if you are in the Dayton area or not, but I would love the opportunity to learn more if you feel up to sharing. My email is Hope to hear from you (or anyone that has more info)!

    1. Hope this helps, Emily. I am from Dayton but now live in New Hampshire. Most of what I have is posted here on the blog. The Brookville Historical Society will likely be worth a visit on your part. Agnes Winklemann, who provided much of the material I draw from regarding the McSherry side, was a frequent researcher there. Best luck.

  6. I am a descendent of Patrick McSherry Jr (1762-1792) and Elizabeth Clements McSherry (1764-1846) and therefore also descended from their daughter, Catherine McSherry Gray, my 4x great grandmother. Through her I am also related to the Shriver (and Owings family) of Union Mills MD. I lived very near there until 3 years ago. I purchased a book titled ‘Pastime Life and Love on the Homefront During the Civil War, 1861-1865’. For those interested in that part of the family, and that period of time, it is a worthwhile purchase and it benefits the Union Mills Homestead Foundation.

    1. When I moved to Owings Mills, before relocating to New Hampshire, I had no idea of the family connection.
      Is Shriver another Schaublein variant, the way Shively is?

      1. Good morning! My interest in the Shriver came to me recently as I have been concentrating on the McSherry family. I needed to expand my research as I was tiring of the overuse of some names, getting myself confused. The break has been very fruitful. I have always known there was a Shriver connection but never knew until fairly recently just how they were connected. When I say Shriver family, it also includes the connection to R Sargent Shriver, so I delved into tracing the family as far back as I could, 1372. I do not see the name you mentioned but am happy to share the variations of Shriver that I found, keeping in mind the variations listed are only as good as what other people have contributed. I have Schreyer and Schreier until 1631, when it becomes Schreiber in the early 1700’s. Then Schreiber was adopted by some family members as Shriver. It is interesting to note that not all children of the Schreiber family took the name Shriver. This is most likely due to their immigration to the U.S.
        Patrick McSherry Sr, and Catherine Gartland’s second child was Mary McSherry, who married William Owings. They produced nine children, one of whom was John Aloysius Owings, a grandson for Patrick. John married Margaret McAlister. They had a daughter, Mary Margaret Josephine Owings, a great grand daughter for Patrick. Mary Margaret Josephine married William Shriver, one of the two brothers famously divided during the Civil War, a story I am sure you are familiar with, since you lived near Union Mills. Mary Margaret and William Shriver had 13 children, one of whom was Thomas Herbert Shriver. Thomas Shriver married went on to marry Elizabeth Larson in 1881. Their daughter, Hilda Shriver, married Robert Sargent Shriver and together they had had two sons, one of whom was Sargent Shriver, Jr, brother-in-law of the late President John Kennedy. R Sargent Shriner and his wife are buried in Westminster, MD, not far from Union Mills.
        I hope I have provided some information useful to you and I hope I have answered your question sufficiently.
        The source I used for the name history was

      2. For the record, I lived in Owings Mills, the Baltimore suburb, for almost two years.
        Peter Sr’s son Hugh married into the Little/Klein and Shively line.
        The Shivelys were German, originally Schaubein, but how the pronunciation shifted and quickly at that still amazes me. Like the Little/Klein family, they were Lutheran.

      3. I think you meant Patrick’s son, Hugh was married to Catharine Klein, right? Do you have any birth or death dates for her? I am also looking for information on Frank David McSherry, who died in 1977, in McAlester, Pittsburg County, OK. I feel like is related via Amos or Richard, Hugh’s son, but I cannot find a link. Any insight?
        I lived in Mt Airy, MD for 39 years before relocating to VA in 2017. Have driven through Union Mils many times and have taken the tour there. My husband is a Civil War re-enactor, playing both either side, depending on where the reenactment is held. Got flooded out at Union Mills when Pipe Creek overflowed overnight a couple of years ago but had a great time anyway.

  7. I would appreciate any information on Patrick Jr and his wife Elizabeth Clements McSherry. I have explored the cemetery at St Aloysius and did not find Patrick Jr’s or Sr’s headstones. I know from Find A Grave that they are there.
    I have not been able to locate the grave of Patrick Jr’s daughter, Catherine McSherry Gray but know she lived in Baltimore MD. Her husband was William Gray and they had 4 children. Catherine is my 4x great grandmother. Any information you may have would be greatly appreciated. I also have copies of correspondence from a William McSherry, the son of James McSherry (1776-1816), regarding Catherine living in Baltimore, Md before 1810.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and introducing yourself, Barbara.
      Everything I have on the McSherry family is posted here. As you can see, my focus has been on the Ohio lines.
      Drawing on my memory, I recall stopping by chance at St. Aloysius about 35 years ago and being surprised to find Patrick Sr’s grave there, a small obelisk with other members also named. I had thought he was buried at the McSherrystown Catholic church and only today, in a quick Google, read that he may have never lived in the town that bears his name.
      Here’s hoping that someone else will chance upon your questions and come through with answers.
      Best wishes!

  8. There are many McSherry family members buried in the cemetery at St Aloysius. I found James and and most of his family and descendents there. I hope to travel north again sometime to explore the grounds again. If you recall, it is not a large cemetery but at the time I was there, a year ago, many of the last names did not mean anything to me. Now that I have invested hundreds of hours in research, I would almost venture to say that everyone in the cemetery is related to the McSherry family.
    My information indicates that Patrick was originally buried at Conewago Chapel but when Catherine died he was moved to St Aloysius Cemetery.

  9. I’m a McSherry from the homeland in Ireland. It was my great ancestor who emigrated to Maryland in 1754

  10. I am a Mcsherry descendent, I still have relatives in PA. My grandmother was very proud of her PA Dutch heritage. Many people claim to be Mcsherry descendents, I am a DNA match and there are only a few other families in America matching. I encourage people who believe to be from this branch to do a DNA test and meet relatives all over the globe.

    1. Glad to meet you, Kitty. As you can see from my line, there are significant Lutheran and Mennonite roots as well as the Irish Catholic. The other McSherry lines likely have similar interactions.
      So far, I’ve not done the DNA testing, in part because I believe family is about more than blood lines, though it would clear up a big puzzle for the Hodsons if we could find a few descendants from other branches back before 1701.

  11. Hi, yes my great grandmother on the Mcsherry side live to be past 100 and was born and died in her home in York PA. And you are correct she live a 100% Mennonite lifestyle complete with an outhouse. My grandmother her daughter lived until 98 but she left York and moved to Detroit and followed the Roman Catholic faith, our family branch was split faith but never shunned. You may want to look for earlier history in Bey Ireland as it places me with Barnabas McSherry and you may be able to find out more. I am not really into family history but I did the DNA test to locate family in Europe that had lost contact in the 1940s/50s. It took a couple of years and now the lost folks have been found. I am meeting many relatives from Ireland that migrated to the UK back in the great migration time of our ancestors. I was surprised to learn that through the Mcsherry side (my mom’s) great grandfathers that there is also Scottish and Finnish DNA mixed with the Irish.

    1. Looks like half of your branch married half of my Branch…Hello cousin. In the Mcsherry branch there are also singular one person having multiple marriages not properly recorded…it adds to the confusion if you aren’t connected.

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