#52 Ancestors Weeks 13-14: Shaffer and Zirkle Cemeteries

So I am going to cheat since I am so far behind on this blog challenge, and call this a two week catch up. I actually have been working on things related to family history for school, so thought I would share two posts that I wrote on my main blog for my Digital Humanities class. Then on Friday I can post another blog that will catch me up to week 17, as it is a paper I wrote for class on Friday and is on 3 ancestors. 😉  The point of the challenge is to write, right, and that I have been doing–just not sharing!! :)

Post 1: This is the link to part one of my recap of the work I did for the project for my digital humanities class.  I used the Shaffer and Zirkle cemeteries in Champaign county, OH and compared families buried there and created visual relationship charts. Then I took information for all the cemeteries in Mad River township, Champaign county, OH and made a map-based database of each. Post one explains hopefully in more detail what I did and links to various posts I made along the way.

Post 2: This is the link to part two of my recap and includes the actual visualizations and map I discuss in Part 1. The project culminated in writing an NEH Grant proposal for a larger project involving cemeteries and digital access that I hope to complete for my Master’s thesis.

I’m still learning a LOT about digital humanities and I welcome thoughts and comments. Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 9:42 pm and is filed under Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “#52 Ancestors Weeks 13-14: Shaffer and Zirkle Cemeteries”

  1. David Neese says:

    Recorded at Indian Creek Church: Nees, Michael, Margaret Zirckel 6 Mar 1753 “left for Virginia”.

    The following obituary notice by Rev. Paul Henkel was entered inGerman into the Solomon Church Register in Shenandoah County forMargreta Nehs. This was sent to me by Blair Zirkle and wastranslated by George M. Smith:
    “The particulars concerning the deceased Margreta Nehs are asfollows: She was born into this world the 6th March 1736, and inadult years she entered into marriage with Michael Nehs. Theylived with one another and 9 children resulted. Four died duringher lifetime, so that she had five surviving her, 2 sons and 3daughters. In the year 1795 it pleased the Lord in His timing tovisit a stroke upon her, after which she lived a year incomplete helplessness, until on Sunday, the 10th of April, 1796,it again pleased the Lord to let her suffer a second stroke, andon the following Wednesday, the 13th, she passed away. Thefollowing Friday, the 15th, she was buried in a decent manner.”

    Michael, Jr came to Greene County, TN with his son JohannesNehs, (Sr.) in 1802. He died in June,1815 and is buried at St.James Lutheran Church in Greene County, TN. His will was made onMay 8, 1815 in Greene County and was probated on July 25, 1815.It was witnessed by John Neas, Jr. and John Renner. His willnames his 3 daughters and their husbands and his 2 sons andmentions notes he held for Moravian and wool hats, which apparently hesold. His will mentions John as follows:

    “…But as my son John has had the trouble of keeping me andnursing me for several years, I will that he should have myhouse clock and should be first of all amply rewarded so as tomake full satisfaction for his trouble…….” Johannes Nehs,Sr. was born January 8, 1758 in Shenandoah Co, VA, the son ofMichael and Margaret Zirkle Nehs. He married Elizabeth Rausch,born December 18, 1758 daughter of Johannes Adam and SusannaSehler Rausch on March 16, 1779. Johannes Nehs served with hisfather, Michael Nehs, Jr. in the Revolutionary war under CaptainJacob Holman of the Dunsmore Co Virginia Militia. Johannes andMichael, Jr. left Virginia by 1802 and settled in the valley ofthe beautiful Nolachucky River in Greene Co, TN. There theyfarmed and continued to prosper.

    As his father before him, Johannes carefully recorded the birthsof their 12 children as well as other family information in theSt. James Lutheran Church records long before they began actualrecords in 1811. Written in German, the record of the Johannesand Elisabeth Nehs Family is on page one of the old record bookof St. James Lutheran Church in Greene Co, TN. Inside the oldchurch book was a yellowed sheet of paper with the following written inGerman in the same handwriting as that on page one of the churchbook:

    “I, Johannes Nehs was born the 8th of January A.D. 1757, in thecounty of Shenandoah in the State of Virginia. Father wasMichael Nehs and Mother was Margaretha being born a Zerkel. Inthe year 1779 on the 6th of March, I bound my hand in holymatrimony to Elisabeth being born a Rausch. My wife Elisabethcame into this world in the year 1758 on the 18th day ofDecember in the county of Shenandoah . Her father was Johannes Rausch and her Mother wasSusanna being born a Sehler. The following children were born tous as is shown on the other side of the paper. In the year 1780,on the 9th of February, we brought into the world a little sonnamed Michael. This child was snatched away from us by deathafter a short stay of 11 months..”

    Johannes continues his wonderful recording in the will he leftdated June 19, 1830 and probated in Greene Co, TN on July 28,1830. Adam Nehs and Jacob Ottinger were witnesses. The willreads in part as follows:

    “I, John Nehs, of Greene County, State of Tennessee, being sickand weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be toGod; calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing thatit is appointed for all men once to die, do make this my lastwill and testament; that is to say principally and first of all,I recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it,and my body I recommend to the earth, to be buried in a decentChristian burial. At the discretion of my executors, nothingdoubting but at the general resurrection, I shall receive thesame again by the mighty power of God.

    …First, I bequeath to Elizabeth my dearly wife in Silver, twohundred dollars, two cows, a good horse, two beds and beddingand asmuch of the house furniture as she may want, and as muchof the moveable property as she may want. she shall havepeaseable proportional in the house where I now live also of thegardin, spring and springhouse and one hundred acres of land onwhich my house now stands be the same more or less during her lifetime.The hundred acres here described may not be fully complyment,but she shall have all the land left after my son Jonases landis taking off…

    ……George, John, Philip, and Adam get over 200 acres of landeach…..

    Sicthly I give and bequeath unto my son Jonas Nehs two hundredacres of land in the lower end of my plantation, joining PhilipHenkles land, be it understood that, this my son Jonas nothaving as strong a mind and knowledge as to be able to bargainfor himself I therefore direct my Executors to hold the title intheir hands until after his decease if he should have heirs thenthey shall inherit the same after his decease. But if he shoulddie without lawful heirs, then, the said land to be sold andequally divided between all my heirs or successors my Executorsshall always see that, the taxes be paid for said land and thatthe profit be aplyed for the support of Jonas Nehs, or hisfamily, but shall not have power to sell it until his death andhe shall peaceable possess it and have it for his use as long ashe shall live if they should die they shall appoint otherexecutors for this purpose.

    Seventhly, as respects my daughters Catherine Ottinger, JacobOttinger’s wife, Elizabeth Adam Bible’s wife, Margeritt, JohnAly’s wife, Susannah Henry Ottingers wife, my daughter Magdalenaand Eve Lewis Ottinger’s wife, I direct that all my moveableproperty shall be sold at public vendu that is which my wife hasnot choosed my money Notes bonds and book accounts shall beequally divided between all the above named daughters except mydaughter Magdalena I will and bequeath her, one hundred dollarsmore and above the rest of my daughters. Be it understood thatExecutors shall make the divide between all my daughtersaccording as they find them charged in my Book of accounts so asto give each of them an equal portion with what they havealready received.

    Eighth ..” .wife’s land is sold after her death to sons Adam andJonas and the money split..or wife’s money split between thedaughters…

    Having read many wills where the wife and daughters weren’t leftwith a bed to sleep in, this will gives this man credit.Inventories after the sales are quite interesting and revealing,as well. Inventories are available for the huge sale after hisand Elizabeth’s deaths, complete with records of the buyers andprices, including Lewis Ottinger buying the clock!

    It is through two of Johannes, Sr and Elizabeth’s children thatI descend. Katharina who married Jacob Ottinger and Johannes,Jr. who married Jacob’s sister, Elizabeth “Betsey” Ottinger.

    Johannes Nehs, Jr. was born to Johannes, Sr. and ElizabethRausch Nehs on January 6, 1786 in Shenandoah, VA and waschristened June 28, 1786 with Johannes and Dorothea Rausch assponsors. On December 26, 1809 he married Elizabeth “Betsey”Ottinger in Greene Co, TN and they had 8 children. Betsey wasthe daughter of John and Margaret Detterman Ottinger and wasborn on September 7, 1791 in York Co, PA.

    It is unknown what happened to their daughter Susannah as she isfound in the church records, but nowhere else. It is assumed shedied in infancy. The last daughter for John and Betsey in thechurch records, Elizabeth, also does not appear anywhere. In hiswill on March 9, 1846 he asks his daughter, Lavina Rader, tocare for “…..my poor little daughter Mary Ann..if she shouldoutlive her mother..”. Mary Ann was reportedly a dwarf. In the 1870 GreeneCo, TN census, Mary Ann, age 33, is living with Elizabeth andMagdalene Neas and listed as “insane”, which at that time wascommonly used to indicate a variety of impairments, not alwaysmental. Some researchers believe that “Elizabeth” is the “MaryAnn” in the will. It is also possible that both Susannah andElizabeth died in infancy and Mary Ann’s baptism is not recorded for somereason. Regardless, we know she exists and we don’t know whathappened to Susannah and Elizabeth.

    John, Jr’s. will also sees that his wife is well cared for,leaving to “Elisabeth my dearly beloved wife my plantationwhereon I now live during her life…” He then also wills “myblack boy Eli I give and bequeath to my wife” and that “my sonWilliams shall live and stay on the plantation….and Eli myblack boy to work with him.” He also asks that “after my wife’sdeath….I will and wish that one of my sons to buy my boy Eli..”, seeing that Eli is provided for in his way. He signed the willwhich was witnessed by Joseph Renner and dated March 9, 1846.John, Jr. died April 6, 1846 in Greene Co, and Betsey died Aug11, 1867 and both were buried in St. James.

    Adam Neas
    Eva Neas Elizabeth Neas Dorothea (Dolly) Neas Johannes Neas

    Hans Michael Nehs, Sr. was born about 1701 and married AnnaDorothea Pfeiffer on February 2, 1728 in Preuschdorf. They cameto America on the “Britannia” on September 21, 1731 with othermembers of his family. Dorothea was born on November 17, 1704 inGermany. They had four known children. Hans Michael, Sr. becamea naturalized citizen on May 19, 1739 in Buck Co, PA. His estatepapers were granted on February 22, 1745 in Bucks County, PAwith his wife Dorothea listed as his executor.
    Michael, Sr. and Dorothea’s son Michael Nehs, Jr. was born July12, 1730 in the German Palatine and came to America at the ageof 1 year. He married Margaret Zirkle at Pine Church,Indianfield, Telford, PA with the Reverend Lucas Raush ofIndianfield as well as the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church inRed Hill presiding on March 6, 1753, Margaret’s seventeenthbirthday. The parish records report “They have gone toVirginia.” Margaret is the daughter of Ludwig and Maria EvaZirkle and was born March 6, 1735/36 in Telford, PA. Although 9children apparently were born to this marriage, we have onlyinformation on five. It is believed the others died quite young.

    Michael, Jr. was a saddler and he and Margaret, her sister,mother and five brothers moved to Forestville, Virginia. Theywere members of Old Pine and Solomon churches there and Michaelcarefully recorded the births of their children in those recordsbefore other records were even started. He purchased 200 acresof land in what was then Augusta County, VA in December of 1753, and then obtained another 360 acres from Alexander Painter. Hedonated 3 acres of land in 1765 where the Solomon LutheranChurch now stands. The old farm is located between New Marketand Forestville and the old mill was standing in recent years,as does part of the original chimney of the house. Nearby is theold Zirkle/Nehs cemetery.

    Michael, Jr. is recognized as a Revolutionary War patriot. Hebecame a naturalized citizen in Augusta County, VA on October16, 1765 and served in the war under the Dunmore County (laterShenandoah), Virginia Militia under the command of Captain JacobHolman.

    Michael and Margaret were the parents of twins and theirbaptisms are recorded at the Old Pine Church as follows:

    :”to Michael Nehs and wife Margared two daughters were born the13 May 1771, baptized the next following 14 August, sponsorswere Casper Brenner and his wife Catharina, her name is Eva, theother of their sponsors were Johannes Rausch and his wife,Susana, her name is Elisabeth.:”

    view all 11
    Hans Michael Neese, Jr.’s Timeline
    July 11, 1730
    Birth of Hans
    Palatinate (now Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany
    March 6, 1753
    Age 22
    Marriage of Hans Neese to Margaretha Nehs
    Telford, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
    January 8, 1757
    Age 26
    Birth of Johannes / John Nehs
    Shenandoah, Page County, Virginia
    October 8, 1758
    Age 28
    Birth of Dorothy Roush
    Forestville, Shenandoah, Virginia
    December 31, 1766
    Age 36
    Birth of Adam B. Nehs
    Moores Store, Shenandoah, Virginia
    November 28, 1767
    Age 37
    Birth of George Neece
    May 13, 1771
    Age 40
    Birth of Eave Harpine, twin
    Shenandoah, Virginia
    May 13, 1771
    Age 40
    Birth of Elizabeth Martha Dittemore, twin
    Shenandoah, Virginia
    July 23, 1815
    Age 85
    Death of Hans
    Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee, United States
    Age 85
    Burial of Hans
    Greeneville, Greene County, Tennessee, United States

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