Archive for the Genealogy Category

Veteran’s Day 2016

Nov 11th, 2016 Posted in Brunner and Sommer Descendants, Genealogy, Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

I know Veteran’s Day is a day to remember those veterans still with us, and I say a huge THANK YOU to all of them. One of the things I LOVE about my DAR chapter is our support of the MANA House, a place where homeless veterans can go to get back on their feet. In a state where veterans are not very well supported, we need more places like MANA.

My family had a smattering of those who served. This year I visited Arlington, and found a maternal great uncle buried there. I had no idea when I showed up how MASSIVE that cemetery is and hiked for hours to find him. (It seemed like hours anyway!)

Edward L Brunner, Arlington National Cemetery

Edward L Brunner, Arlington National Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But now I have had the experience of being at Arlington, and it was beautiful. There are many more on my maternal side, and my second great grandfather served and was injured in the Civil War. We don’t have any Revolutionary War veterans, because my maternal side were all new immigrants in the 19th century.

My dad and most of his brothers served in some capacity, and for that I am thankful as well. I wish I knew more about our family’s military history, and it’s a genealogy goal of mine for some day. There isn’t much, other than dad and his brothers, because it seems that most of the rest of the direct paternal line missed most of the wars. We don’t have a direct paternal civil war veteran, or WWI. It seems my paternal grandfather may have been drafted in WWI, but I don’t see that he ever served. We do, however, have a long list of Revolutionary War veterans!

Norb Shaffer, enlistment photo

Norb Shaffer, enlistment photo

 

Earl Roy Shaffer Draft Card June 5, 1917

Earl Roy Shaffer Draft Card June 5, 1917

 

 

My husband comes from a long line of military on both sides. I’ve blogged about his Adams relatives before. (Stanford Adams), and I thought I wrote the story of Stephen Getchell, Jr. and the man I met because of him, but I guess I haven’t — that will have to be another blog. Thank you for your service. He came home, and Steve didn’t.

 

A Visit to New England – Gloucester and the Merry brothers

Jul 3rd, 2015 Posted in Adams and Merry Descendants, Genealogy | no comment »

 

 

I recently went to Massachusetts for a conference, and with a couple of friends, spent the three days prior to the conference traveling all over New England looking at cemeteries and historical sites. Our first day in MA was a trip to Gloucester, the town from where my husband’s fishermen ancestors sailed the seas.

IMGP1698

As you can see, the day was wet, rainy, and miserable. But that didn’t stop us, we only had one day to see it all! Our first stop was the coast. There are two memorials to fishermen and their wives and children, and though I got completely soaked, I checked them both out!

Gloucester Coast Collage

Gloucester coast near the memorials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMGP1719

Fishermen’s Wives Memorial

 

The monument to the Fishermen’s Wives was secondary to the memorial to the men, but it had been in the works since the 1930s. Since I went there first, I’ll discuss it first. According to the North Shore Community College website, the memorial went through various iterations that included themes of melancholy, sadness, and waiting, before the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association settled on the monument that now stands on the Stacy Boulevard Esplanade. The inscription, “The wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of Gloucester fishermen honor the wives and families of fishermen and mariners everywhere for their faith, diligence, and fortitude,” evokes a sense of the strength and dignity held by widows of men who toil at one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

IMGP1720

Ground beneath the monument with stones dedicated to women and children and fishermen

IMGP1718

Inscription for the memorial

 

Nearby is the first memorial, the one to the fishermen and mariners of Gloucester. “The Man at the Wheel” was erected in 1923 as a memorial to the over 10,000 men lost at sea. It was also made famous as the idea behind the Gorton’s fisherman, for those of you who eat frozen fish sticks! This was particularly important for me to see, as my husband comes from a long line of fishermen and farmers in New England. Near the monument is a list of the names  over 10,000 men lost at sea between 1623-1923, listed alphabetically by year.

 

IMGP1729

 

IMGP1727

The names of over 10,000 mariners lost at sea from 1623-1923

 

 

One of those 10,000 men lost at sea was David Merry. David, his brothers James and Jonathan, and their father Hiram were all fishermen from Edgecomb, Maine who sailed from Gloucester to Nova Scotia to make ends meet. On April 1, 1859, David and Jonathan left the harbor en route to Nova Scotia for another day’s work. Family lore states that sometime during the day, their schooners passed each other and the brothers were able to wave hello to one another. That evening, a gale came up suddenly, and the Grace T. Powers was lost to the depths of the sea, taking with her David Merry and his 7 shipmates. Also lost that day was the Charles E. Grover, with 9 men aboard. (per the Gloucester records, from the Sawyer Free Library, linking to Down to Sea in Ships)

IMGP1726-copy

David Murray aka David Merry 1859. Fishermen’s Memorial, Gloucester, MA

 

David, at the age of 24, left behind a widow and one son (potentially two, but I have still not proven the second son). His brother Jonathan, so distraught over this loss, left the fishing industry to become a farmer in the town of Sherman, Maine. He and his wife Emeline, who was the sister of David’s wife Sarah, raised David’s son Brainard as their own and Brainard’s descendants still live in the family farmhouse in Sherman today.

 

Meanwhile, David and Jonathan’s brother James had his own adventures, and I visited the area of Gloucester where his story takes place.

IMGP1770

Entrance where you turn to get to Dogtown Commons

 

Dogtown Commons was many things over time. In 1641, it was a settlement for early American colonists that was safer than living right on the coast, with the threat of pirates and native american attacks. Eventually, the coast was more habitable and people left. After the Revolutionary War, elderly widows of the soldiers settled here and brought dogs to keep them company. The wild dogs that run free in the Commons today are rumored to be descended from them. Some say that is where Dogtown gets its name. Others claim the name comes from another iteration of the area, when it became a wild and ruthless wilderness with only the hardcore willing to call the area home. Dog can be used to refer to loafers, inferiors, or other undesirables. Today it is a beautiful green area perfect for hiking, biking, walking and running. Google it and you’ll find scores of ghost stories, poems, songs, videos and books written about it. You can also read my travel companion’s article about our trip the area here.

IMGP1777

Welcome to Historic Dogtown

 

 

Dogtown is mostly known for the decorative boulders that indicate old homesteads or interesting stories, most are carved with numbers or have a nearby plaque with information. They generally refer you back to the City of Gloucester page, located here.

 

IMGP1788

Under the trees, the smallish boulders are what is left of a cellar from an old 17th century house

IMGP1799

Some areas are marked with carved numbers that correspond to a story of that space, like this one. Kind of like an early QR code.

 

 

 

During the Depression, Roger Babson commissioned artists to carve inspirational messages on boulders in Dogtown. You can read about their history and see a map of the area that Babson drew here. It was these that drew me to the area.
James Merry, brother to David and Jonathan, was also a fisherman like his brothers. There are about as many stories about James as there are about the origins of the name of Dogtown. The most romanticized story about James is that he spent a lot of time in Madrid, running with the bulls. When he came back and settled in Gloucester, he boasted so often to friends that he was the best bullfighter ever, that he had to raise his own bull and stage a bullfight to prove his prowess. Unfortunately, the bull won, and James was dashed against a boulder to the shock and horror of his friends.

However, the newspapers of the time tell a less glamorous story. The Boston Post from 19 September 1892 says:

Gloucester, Sept. 18.– Today, while Isaac Day and Henry and Chester Norwood were walking along Dogtown Common road, a desolate place, they saw a bull with blood on his horns, and a short distance from him they found the dead body of James Merry lying between two rocks. A large wound was found in the abdomen of the dead man, and it is supposed that it was made by the bull, which is a vicious animal. Merry resided in this city, and had a wife and family. He left home this forenoon to pick barberries, and it is thought he was attacked by the bull and gored. The animal belongs to Patrick Nugent.

 

The Babson boulder commemorating the site of the goring goes along with the more romantic story,however, and bears an uplifting and inspirational “Never Try, Never Win” message.

IMGP1810

Babson boulder near the site where James Merry was found

 

 

These are supposedly the actual boulders that Merry was dashed against and died on:

 

 

IMGP1808

Scratched on the boulder are the words First Attacked

 

IMGP1806

Jas Merry, Died Sept 18, 1892 – the red paint indicating this was where his bloodied body was found

 

 

 

 

Nearby is a clearing believed to be where the bull was pastured:

IMGP1814

 

 

James is buried in the local cemetery Cherry Hill, and we scoured the whole cemetery but did not find any marker for him. Likely it was unmarked, as the cemetery history indicates the earliest burials were unmarked. We did use a dousing rod that seemed to think one particular area was where he may be buried, and it’s near the entrance so entirely plausible.

2015-06-21 11.47.41

 

IMGP1821

 

 

 

Though James may not have been a 60 year old bullfighter, he sure left a great story to be passed on to many Merry generations!

 

 

 

 

Roush Family Ties

Jun 2nd, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

I haven’t posted in awhile, and that is just because I have been working on a book for the Shaffer family reunion this summer. I hope to post it here when I get back, because I also hope to have lots of new research to add to it so I’ll have to update it! I am also not sure I will finish all of what I’d intended to do. I am running out of time! But whatever happens, I have the blog to add it additions to.

One thing the book will not include is the Roush family. I so wanted to do more work on that line, but I just have not had the time. It’s on the to do list to hit hard when I finish with grad school, since the rest of my grad school work involves the Shaffer and Zirkle lines, I will most likely be tired of them by the time I am done!

The nice thing is that I have “met” a 7th cousin who blogs about the Roush family from time to time. We both descend from Philip and Catherine (Kelchner) Roush. Her blog is A Sense of Family, so make sure you check it out. Mostly you should look at her most recent 52 Ancestors post called Jacob Roush and Philip Roush: Virginia Militiamen. Her post does more than I can at this point to detail two of my three Revolutionary War ancestors: Michael Zirkle and Philip Roush. I know that Jacob Shaffer, if he served, also would have served with these two men. All three families were so closely knit through marriages and all lived near each other so I know they must have served together as well. I just need to find Jacob!

I probably will not be able to continue with the 52 Ancestors challenge,  due to time constraints, but it did get me writing more so it accomplished what the intent was. I plan to continue blogging when I can so bear with me!

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

Apr 29th, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | one comment »

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!

52 Ancestors – Week 12: George Stange

Mar 23rd, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

I’m continuing this week with individuals buried in the Shaffer cemetery.
George Stange
So here is a burial that intrigued me for several reasons. First, he only lived a day: 7 Jun 1861-8 Jun 1861. Secondly, he was absolutely not any relation to anyone else in this cemetery, nor was he related to my family. What the heck is he doing in this place? Well, it’s not uncommon for these family burial plots to include neighbors. And because I know there was a church here in 1855, perhaps they were members of the church. The Findagrave.com information states that the family  had lived in Clark County, OH since 1855, but had moved to Illinois by 1870. Perhaps they just needed a plot to bury little George before they moved on. It’s sad that he is there all alone without any family nearby. A similar thing happened in my  immediate family: little Herbert Shaffer was born while my grandparents lived in Troy, and he only lived 7 Jun-16 Jun 1934. Aww, I just realized he and George shared the same birthday! Anyway, my grandparents were too poor to afford a grave marker so he is buried between two other people in an unmarked grave in Troy Riverside cemetery. The rest of the family is buried in Piqua, where they later moved and stayed.

It’s interesting to see the number of child burials between the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries and think about what this meant for families in the early 1800s. Consider that there are 57 total burials between the two (as per Findagrave for right now, I am still working on getting definitive information for these cemeteries this summer) and 24 of them are children under the age of 10. All of them have their own headstones. Clearly, the children were important enough to memorialize and be given a place to be remembered. Compared then with my uncle Herbert, who has no headstone, can we say that things were different in the 1930s with regards to the way people viewed death and memory? Maybe but there’s not enough information to say that definitively. And I also know that economics played a factor. Most of the families represented in the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries were not poor in the 1800s, at least by standards of the time. They all owned land. My grandparents, however, lived during the Great Depression and at the time they lived in Troy did not own their own property. In fact, I don’t think they ever owned their own property, at least not during census years.

I was thinking about the cultural statements that these family cemeteries can make today as I was reading Death, Memory, and Material Culture (Hallam and Hockey 2001) where they briefly touch upon the practice of burying and memorializing stillborn babies. “Prior to the 1970s, foetal (sic) remains were disposed of with no religious or institutional attempt to provide them with a social body and therefore a memorable identity.” (p.4) I am not sure whether this is entirely true, in some religious cultures all stillborn babies have an identity and I don’t believe that is a new thing. I would love commentary.

 

 

52 Ancestors – Week 11 – Bowers

Mar 16th, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

First, some business — I’ve been blogging for a year now! I actually missed my blogiversary – March 2nd. Here’s a link to my very first blog post on ShafferandZirkleDescendants.blogspot.com . I’ve now retired that blog, but I’ll leave it up as some cousin bait and hopefully as posts are discovered there they will find me over here!

I’m taking a (sort of) detour this week. If you’ve been following my posts, I’m concurrently researching the Zerkle cemetery, which is about a half mile away from the Shaffer cemetery. (And also all my family) In creating my databases, I noticed a set of Bowers in this cemetery that died at the same time. This cemetery was built on the Zerkle property, Abraham Zerkle was the son of George and Catherine (Roush) Zerkle (my 5th great grandparents). His sister Sarah married Solomon Shaffer. (They are mentioned in my last post on the old blog. They are my 4th great grandparents)

Anyway, back to the Bowers. Susannah Bowers and her son Silas Bowers died one day apart, in 1854. A quick search revealed that they died during the 3rd cholera epidemic. I tried to find a death record for them but no luck. I don’t have Ancestry.com access anymore. I assume this had something to do with their death, Silas was 21 years old, so she didn’t die giving birth. If anyone knows, let me know!

Cemetery Visualization Project

Mar 16th, 2014 Posted in Public History, Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

Working on this visualization project I think I’ve stumbled on something interesting.

-In my database I have two cemeteries: Zerkle and Shaffer. They are named thusly per Google Maps. The story behind Shaffer is that a family member placed the sign there because it needed a name. I assume that’s why Google maps gives it that place name. I don’t know why the Zerkle cemetery is given that place name, other than because there are Zerkles (all spellings) buried there. But there are Zerkles (all spellings) also buried in Shaffer. That’s not a surprise, they are all intermarried into each other and the land all around both was once owned by Shaffers and Zerkles.

– My spreadsheet that I created shows the earliest burial in Shaffer was 1855, and latest was 1883. Zerkle was 1842 and last 1883.
– The current acreage that I was given by a Mad River Township Trustee was over an acre for Shaffer and just over a half acre for Zerkle.
– The 1874 map I have showing cemetery markings indicates a cemetery near where the current Google maps lists the Shaffer cemetery. Farther down, near where the current Google maps shows the Zerkle cemetery, is the Zerkle Lutheran church. But NO cemetery marker on the 1874 map. In 1874, the Zerkle Lutheran church was still there so it should be showing on the map.
– The deed I have a copy of from 1846 showing Abraham Zerkle deeded 1 acre to the Lutheran Church Trustees for a church and burial ground.
– The Shaffer Huston cemetery mentioned in a couple of sources does not exist anymore. The numbers of burials in the various records of Shaffer and Zerkle cemetery vary — much less in the pre-1950 literature available.

Conclusions:
1) I think the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries are misnamed. Zerkle should be an acre or more.
2) Shaffer-Huston was moved into the “Shaffer” cemetery – hence why there are more burials than originally accounted for.
3) The earliest burial in the “Zerkle” cemetery was Elizabeth Shaffer. Another reason this was probably the family cemetery located on the Shaffer property not the Zerkle property. The Zerkle cemetery, attached to the Zerkle Lutheran Church didn’t exist until 1846-7.

Now, how do I show all this visually?! Other than the fun color-coded map I made myself using colored pens. :)

Stanford Adams

Mar 12th, 2014 Posted in Adams and Merry Descendants | no comment »

I had the opportunity to speak at my DAR meeting last night about many things. Our program included a session where everyone brought a family photo or some heirloom and a story. I forgot about that, but through the magic of technology I always have my genealogy files available from my phone so the first thing I thought about was this photo:

Stanford_Enlistment

Stanford Adams enlistment photo

The story behind this photo is that it is what got me into genealogy this most recent time. I’ve been interested in genealogy since I was in high school, but I was always under the impression that my family was “all done.” So when I married a man whose father had passed away when he was 16, I thought I would try again. I asked his mother all kinds of questions about the family, but hit so many brick walls that I gave up. I never thought to ask about her family. As is so often the case, however, she passed away unexpectedly before I could talk about her genealogy.

We found in her things after her death several old photos. Many were unlabeled. One of the photos, though, was labeled “Stanford Adams”. It was an enlistment photograph. I joined Ancestry.com to try to find out who he was. My mother-in-law’s maiden name was Adams, so we figured he must have been related. She was an only child, so he had to have been an uncle or great uncle. Let me back up a bit and mention that my husband and I had bought our house from his mother and stepfather several years prior to this. When they moved, they left a TON of stuff they didn’t go thru, as they were moving to a smaller residence. My husband remembered the stack of pictures that was left in the garage, and pulled those out. Among the framed photos was Stanford’s purple heart certificate and letter from President Roosevelt, along with a photo of a group in front of a B-17 bomber. So now we knew when and where he died. We just didn’t know how he was related. My mother in law never spoke of any aunts or uncles except one – Aunt Roberta lived in Florida, and her father visited her in the winters. In the summers he lived in Maine with my husband’s family. A quick google search of Stanford Adams revealed that he was a member of the Joel Gatewood crew of the “Chief Sly II” the 322nd Bomb Squad, 91st Bomb Group, Maine. It was shot down during the Schweinfurt raid of 17 August 1943, with a loss of 5 crewman. Lt. Joel Gatewood and navigator 2nd Lt. Daniel A. Downey were two of the four that survived, ejecting from the aircraft and spending 20 months as POWs. I was able to figure out that Stanford was indeed an uncle to my mother in law. After much research, I eventually learned that there were 8 members of her father’s family. I have been researching this family ever since, hitting multiple brick walls, especially with her grandmother.

Chief Sly II Joel Gatewood Crew before their mission

Chief Sly II Joel Gatewood Crew before their mission

 

Stanford was born 9 Sept 1913 in Limestone, Aroostook, Maine. He was the 6th living child of Robie Adams and Crissie Cora Johnson. Crissie was born in New Denmark, New Brunswick as best as I can figure out; and Robie was born to Benjamin Adams and Ellen Tuttle in Limestone. He enlisted from Governor’s Island, New York 18 Aug. 1842. He was unmarried and no children.

From  http://www.8thafhs.org/bomber/91bg.htm about the Chief Sly II:

42-5139 Delivered: Cheyenne 2/10/42; West Palm Beach 14/12/42;
Assigned: 322BS/91BG [LG-V] Bassingbourn 13/3/43; MIA
Schweinfurt 17/8/43 Pilot: Joel Gatewood, Navigator: Dan Downy,
Bombardier: Harry Hammond, Waist Gunner: Tom Parfitt (4POW-all
caught after nine days at Saarbrucken), Co-Pilot: George Riegel,
Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Ray Canada, Radio Operator: Dan
Butler, Ball Turret Gunner: Stanford Adams, Waist Gunner: George
Hite, Tail Gunner: Fred Pearce (6KIA); Enemy aircraft KO’d #3 & #4
and wing on fire, crashed Geisenheim, 12 miles W of Weisbaden,
Germany. MACR 276. CHIEF SLY II.
Source: B-17 Master Log – Dave Osbourne

Another great resource for the story is from “Mary Ruth” Memories of Mobile…We Still Remember Chapter 4, “One Came Home, The Stories of Those Left Behind.” 

We wish we got to know you, Stanford. Thank you for your service to our country.

Stanford Purple Heart Letter from president

Purple Heart Letter

Stanford is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial  Saint-Avold Departement de la Moselle Lorraine, France. Someone has created a memorial on Findagrave for him, as well: Stanford Adams. I hope to get a photo of his grave sometime soon.

52 Ancestors – Week 10 – Bowman

Mar 8th, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

This is going to be a short one, as I don’t have a lot of time. Continuing with the Shaffer cemetery theme…

Buried in the Shaffer Cemetery are 6 Bowman children. They are all the children of Joseph Bowman and Sarah Bowers Bowman. Joseph and Sarah, according to Findagrave.com, are buried in Indiana. It’s interesting to see that four of their children died in October of 1867, and all were under 10.
Jacob died 15 Oct. 1867
Joseph, Jr. died 19 Oct. 1867
Isabelle died 24 Oct. 1867
John William died 27 Oct. 1867

George Bowman lived 1 month, died in 1859. Moses Bowman was 2 and died in 1869.

But it makes you wonder about the other four! What was going on in 1867? I did a quick internet search and came up with a record on the Clark County OH GenWeb that listed COD for both Joseph Jr. (croup) and John William (diptheria). So no crazy disease there. I didn’t find anything else ~ no epidemic or other cause. Could they have just been that unlucky to lose four children in less than 3 weeks? Seems unlikely.I also wonder what they were doing in this cemetery. Evan Middleton lists Mrs. Sarah Bowman as a member of the first Zerkle Lutheran church; however the rest of the members of the 2nd Lutheran Church started by Solomon Shaffer are the ones actually buried in this cemetery. I’m still working on this list of Evan Middleton’s. (p.500, History of Champaign County, Ohio: Its People, Industries and …, Volume 1)

But as this family is not related to mine, I can’t spend much time on them at the moment. If anyone knows anything about their deaths, please drop me a line.Also drop me a line if you have some ideas about the Zerkle Lutheran church split in 1848!

52 Ancestors: Week 9 – Solomon Shaffer

Mar 1st, 2014 Posted in Shaffer and Zirkle Descendants | no comment »

For the first blog of #52Ancestors on my new site, I thought I would try a new idea. Much of my work in school right now centers around the Shaffer cemetery in Terre Haute, Champaign county, OH. Many of my Digital Humanities blog posts will be about this cemetery, I am writing a paper that includes this cemetery, and I am about to embark on a journey to try to get this cemetery restored. So I think for the next 30-31 weeks, I will blog each week about someone buried in the Shaffer cemetery, and how they are related to each other and to me.

Shaffer Cemetery by Craig Shaffer

Shaffer Cemetery by Craig Shaffer

Last week I blogged about Noah Zirkle and I truly believe he and his wife Lydia are buried in this cemetery, and I hope to find them along this journey. It’s only fitting, then, that I start with Solomon Shaffer, as I believe the cemetery is located on what was once his land. (Waiting for a copy of the deed that will confirm this…)

Solomon Shaffer was the youngest son of Jacob Shaffer and Otillia (Odilla, Otilla) Schmid. Jacob Shaffer was born and raised in Germany, and came to America as a small boy and settled in Berks County, PA. Otillia was his third wife. They were married in PA, and at some point moved to the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. I’ll blog about them more in depth after I finish the people in the Shaffer cemetery.

Solomon (my 4th great grandfather) was born 7 April 1791 in New Market, Shenandoah, Virginia. He was baptized in the Old Pine Church on 29 May, 1791, and his sponsors were Johannes Bord and his wife Catherine. (Source: Wust, Klaus, Old Pine Church Baptisms 1783-1828 p. 20) I don’t know much about his childhood, but I know that the Shaffer, Zirkle, and Roush families lived near each other and I hope to explore that a bit more in depth at some point. Many of the Shaffer, Zirkle, and Roush men served together during the Revolutionary War, and these three families were very tightly interwoven by marriage.

In the early part of 1800, some of these family members headed west to Ohio. Abraham Zirkle (another 4th great grandfather, mentioned here) was a pioneer in what would become German, Clark county, Ohio. Solomon married Sarah Zirkle, the daughter of Abraham’s brother George and his wife Catherine Roush. They were married in Shenandoah on 18 September 1816. On the 1820 and 1830 Shenandoah county census they were still living there. According to several sources, at some point in the mid 1800s more of the Shaffer, Zirkle, and Roush families along with friends and neighbors, packed up in their wagons and went to the Ohio wilderness. Most settled right on the border between what is today Clark and Champaign counties.

According to Early Settlers of Champaign County and Surrounding Areas Vol 1 by Pat Stickley and June Kiser of the CCGS,  Feb 2000, Zirkle Pioneers of Terre Haute:

“In 1829 David Miller with a group of Virginia families, John Good, Abram Zerkle and Soloman Shaffer came in a four horse conestoga wagon and all settled near Terre Haute. Soloman Shaffer had 100 acres within a half mile of Terre Haute just southwest of town. Abram Zerkle’s 110 acres adjoined Shaffer on the west. John Good had a quarter section just east of town which later became part of the town. There are two other Zerkles, George and Jacob, who according to deed records owned farms in the immediate neighborhood and at the same time. I am at a loss to tell whether all were brothers or father and sons. Abraham Zerkle sold one-fourth acre in 1847 for a site of the Lutheran church. There is a Zerkle cemetery on the Abram Zerkle farm and a Shaffer cemetery on the Soloman Shaffer land. Another called the Rouze cemetery adjoins the southwest part of town. This land was owned by John, Levi and James Rouze, all of it in section 25 just west of town.” (Source: Ancestry.com) -I  take this 1829 date with a grain of salt, the 1830 census still has Solomon and Sarah living in VA; and other sources say these families all moved in 1850.

Solomon and Sarah had the following children:

Helena (1818-1899)
Lydia (1820-unknown) – married Noah Zirkle
Jonathan (1822-1905)
Samuel (1824-unknown)
Reuben (1826-1908)
Rebecca (1828-1914)
Catherine (1830-unknown – she might be the Sarah Catherine buried in Shaffer cemetery, I will check that out when I get to Sarah Catherine)
Joseph (1834-1868)

There is a mention of Solomon, Sarah, and several of their children in Evan Middleton’s 1917 publication, History of Champaign County, Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions (Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917), found here on page 500 in his discussion of the Zerkle Lutheran Church. He stated that they left Abraham’s church and formed another church (and from his description it sounds like it was on Solomon’s property) in 1848 in “connection with the joint synod of Ohio.” Among the names he lists are Solomon and Sarah and their children Reuben, Jonathan, Samuel, and Noah and Lydia Zirkle. Because Middleton only lists first names, and many of these families named their children the same thing, I cannot be certain that the Reuben, Jonathan and Samuel are the same as the Reuben, Jonathan, and Samuel that were Solomon and Sarah’s children, but there’s a very strong likelihood that is the case. Why wouldn’t they follow their parents? At any rate, by the time of Middleton’s publication, that church had disbanded and the building was being used as a barn. Abraham Zerkle’s Lutheran church would go on until the 1980s!

Anyway, from 1840-1860, the Mad River township, Champaign County, OH censuses showed Solomon and Sarah living there and farming until Solomon passed away on 22 March, 1865. He is buried in the Shaffer cemetery. Sarah followed him in death 4 years later.