Tuesday, February 24, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 60: John Woodley and his wife Louisa

John Woodley was born 1809 in England.  We don’t know when he immigrated to the US.

In about 1845, John (36) married Louisa (25) who was born in 1820 in Demerara.

Guyana is highlighted on the map

“Demerara, (Guyana) was first colonized by the Dutch West India Company(DWIC). The Demerara region was opened to settlement in 1746, and new opportunities attracted British settlers from nearby Barbados. By 1760, they had become the largest contingent in Demerara.  The mainstay of its economy was sugar, grown on cane plantations worked by slaves.  The treatment of slaves were markedly different from owner to owner, and from plantation to plantation.” (1)

When Louisa was only 3 years old, “the Demerara rebellion of 1823 took place.  It was an uprising involving more than 10,000 slaves. The rebellion took place on 18 August 1823 and lasted for two days.  In part they were reacting to poor treatment and a desire for freedom; in addition, there was a widespread, mistaken belief that Parliament had passed a law for emancipation, but it was being withheld by the colonial rulers. Instigated chiefly by Jack Gladstone, a slave at "Success" plantation, the rebellion also involved his father, Quamina, and other senior members of their church group. Its English pastor, John Smith, was implicated.

Demerara Rebellion (a)

The largely non-violent rebellion was brutally crushed by the colonists under Governor John Murray. They killed many slaves: estimates of the toll from fighting range from 100 to 250. After the insurrection was put down, the government sentenced another 45 men to death, and 27 were executed. The executed slaves' bodies were displayed in public for months afterwards as a deterrent to others. Jack was deported to the island of Saint Lucia after the rebellion following a clemency plea by Sir John Gladstone, the owner of "Success" plantation. “ (1)

St George's Cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana
and is one of the tallest wooden churches in the world
at a height of 143 ft. (b)
We don’t know when Louisa arrived in America, or when exactly she married John Woodley.  They had at least two children:

  • Harry born somewhere in English-speaking Canada in Mar 1847 (our ancestor)
  • Emma born in New York in 1848

In 1864, the family returned to the US, (from where?  Canada?)

In 1870 John (61) and Louisa (51) and family were living in Kansas City, MO, and the trail ends there.


*(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demerara_rebellion_of_1823
1870 Federal Census
(a) Bryant, Joshua (1824) Account of an insurrection of the negro slaves in the colony of Demerara, which broke out on the 18th of August, 1823., Georgetown, Demerara: A. Stevenson at the Guiana Chronicle Office. High-res scan courtesy of Brown University archives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demerara_rebellion_of_1823
(b) http://www.guyanacityguide.com/place/st-georges-cathedral/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George%27s_Cathedral,_Georgetown

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 59: Nicholas Bittinger

Nicholas Bittinger was born 11 Jun 1725 in the Strasbourg area of Alsace France/Germany. He was the oldest of four boys. He was 12 when he and his family immigrated to America, arriving in Philadelphia in 1737.

Ten years later, Nicholas  (22) married Maria Christina Reinbolt on 14 Jun 1747 in Abbottstown, PA. “Her son-in-law, Samuel Lane, described her as 'a very smart woman.'

They had 2 sons and 8 daughters:
  1. Maria Christina, (married Seth Duncan)
  2. Johan (never married)
  3. Margaret (married Major John Clark) 
  4. Mary Magdalena, born 1754 (our ancestor, married William Hamilton)
  5. Anna Barbara (married Samuel Lane)
  6. Elisabeth (married Andrew Baum)
  7. Mary (married Mr Harman)
  8. Susanna (married Tobias Kepner)
  9. Catharine (married George Rudy)
  10. Joseph (married Elizabeth Baugher)

In 1753 Nicholas B. was elected deacon of St. Michael's church. Ten years after we find him sent to the conference of Lutheran ministers in Philadelphia to plead that a minister be sent to the church; it was impossible to do so, and the conference appointed him to read sermons and
keep the congregation together until better times. He was, as his son-in-law said, 'a terrible Lutheran,' a generous subscriber to St. Michael's, and subsequently to St. John's at Abbottstown.” (1)

“Nicholas was naturalized on 18 Sept 1768.”   (2)

Nicholas Bittinger (a)
Here is one account of Nicholas’ service in the Revolutionary War:

“When, at the outbreak of the Revolution, the Committees of Observation were formed in every county, Nicholas (49) was appointed (for) York Co., December 16, 1774, serving one year.

'He was one of the first that took up arms against the tyranny of the King of England and his ministers,' and raised a company of minutemen at his own expense, being commissioned a Captain, August, 1776, in the third battalion of York Co. These militia were formed into the organization known as the "Flying Camp," were for a time stationed in "the Jerseys," and then made up part of the unfortunate garrison of Fort Washington, who were captured, and many of the prisoners bayoneted by the British, while Washington, viewing from the other side of the river the tragedy he could not prevent, wept 'with the tenderness of a child.'

Nicholas was severely wounded and 'taken prisoner, fighting at the head of his company,' and being sent to the infamous British prisons in New York. After an imprisonment of six months, during which he kept himself from starving by shoemaking, he 'was finally exchanged, thro' the influence of his son-in-law, Maj. Clark, and would have been promoted, but on account of his wounds was retired.' (1)

And here is a second account of Nicholas’ service:

Taken from Peter Foreman's pension deposition:
“That in the spring of 1776 Foreman entered the service of the United States as a volunteer in the Company of Captain Nicholas Bittinger composed of 110 men, all volunteers. Our company went from York County to Amboy - We served as volunteers three months. That when his time was out Foreman enlisted in the flying camp under Captain Nicholas Bittinger for five months -   that his company was taken to Long Island and that he was in the Battle of Long  Island on the 27th of August 1776...

Battle of Long Island (b)

The Battle of Long Island, also known the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, fought on August 27, 1776, was a defeat for the Continental Army under General George Washington and the beginning of a successful campaign that gave the British control of the strategically important city of New York. In the American Revolutionary War it was the first major battle to take place after the United States declared independence on July 4, 1776. In terms of troop size, it was the largest battle of the entire war.  (4) 

...and that he was at Fort Washington when it was taken by the British and Hessians in the month of November 1776 --that about thirty-one of our company were taken prisoners but the rest of us (Foreman) made our escape and that not one of those who were taken prisoners of our company ever returned home.” (3) –the last sentence was not quite true, since Nicholas DID return home

Battle of Fort Washington (c)

“During the American Revolutionary War, Fort Washington was located at the highest point of the island of Manhattan.  Along with Fort Lee, located just across the Hudson River atop the New Jersey Palisades, the twin forts were intended to protect the lower Hudson from British warships. 

The Battle of Fort Washington was fought on November 16, 1776. It was a decisive British victory that gained the surrender of the garrison of Fort Washington.  British General Howe launched his attack on November 16. He led an assault from three sides: the north, east and south.

Battle of Fort Washington (d)

After the Hessians entered the fort, the American officers attempted to placate the Hessian commander, Captain von Malmburg, who was in charge of the surrender. They invited him into their barracks, and offered him punch, wine, cake, with compliments. As they left the fort, the Hessians stripped the American troops of their baggage and beat some of them. Their officers intervened to prevent further injuries or deaths. The British captured thirty-four cannon, two howitzers, along with many tents, blankets, tools and much ammunition. 

The British and Hessians suffered 84 killed and 374 wounded. The Americans lost 59 killed, had 96 wounded casualties, and 2,838 men captured.  Under the usual treatment of prisoners of war in the American Revolutionary War, only 800 survived their captivity to be released 18 months later in a prisoner exchange; nearly three-quarters of the prisoners died. “ (5)

This memorial marks the site of Fort Washington.
Constructed by the continental troops in the summer of 1776
Taken by the British after a heroic defense November 16, 1776
Repossessed by the Americans
upon their triumphal entry into
 the city of New York November 25, 1783. (e)  
Located in Bennett Park near the George Washington Bridge

And a third account of Nicholas’ service:
Taken from Henry Baumgartner’s Pension Application: "That Captain Bittinger was taken prisoner at Fort Washington, that Baumgartner with others escaped to Fort Lee, that Baumgartner marched with the detachment of the Army from Fort Lee through New Jersey to Trenton, crossed the Delaware and at the end of Baumgartner's term of six months was discharged." (6)

“Meanwhile Nicholas’ wife Christina was also serving and suffering for her country, for she had 'great trouble when her husband was away in the army, with a large family of children and unmanageable slaves to take care of, always in terror of the British and Indians.'

Nicholas resided for the rest of his life on his farm near Abbottstown, where he lived in considerable style, educated his children and was a man of great wealth and influence in his day. It is said that his daughters were the only persons who at that time wore silks; he had the first and only gig (a light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse) in that neighborhood.
Picture of a gig. (f)

The family was nicknamed 'der Adel' (the nobility) in the country-side. 'He was a prodigious Whig,' (an American colonist who supported the American Revolution) says Samuel Lane, 'as were they all.' In person he was tall but spare, and 'a very unfashionable man.' He had a large amount of property, owning '1,000 acres in Franklin Co., two mills in Adams Co., with 300 acres to each mill, besides a great deal of other property.' " (1)

1790 Federal Census: Nicholas Bittinger (65):  a family of 8 and 3 slaves in York County, PA

1800 Federal Census: Nicholas Bittingher (75): a family of 7 and 2 slaves in Adams County, PA.  (Adams County was formed from part of York County in 1800)

"He died from the consequences of his imprisonment, leaving a "widow, two sons and seven daughters to mourn the loss of an affectionate husband and father.' 'I have always heard him spoken of with pride and reverence,' writes a great-granddaughter.” (1)

Nicholas (78) died 2 May 1803, and is buried at Mount Olivet, PA

His wife, Maria Christina died 9 years later on May 23, 1812.

*(1) Bittinger AND Bedinger Families, Descendants of  Adam Budinger, 1904, by Lucy Forney Bittinger.
*(2)Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Persons Naturalized in the Province of Pennsylvania [1740-1773]. Harrisburg, PA, USA: 1876.
*(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Long_Island
*(6) The National Archives Publication Number: M804 Publication Title: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files National Archives Catalog ID: 300022 National Archives Catalog Title: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900 Record Group: 15 Short Description: NARA M804. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. State: Pennsylvania Veteran Surname: Baumgartner Veteran Given Name: Henry
(a)This is a painting of Capt J. Nicholas Bittinger taken from a website that advertises restoration of paintings. I do not own this painting, nor do I know who owns it or where it is. If you know, please tell me as I am curious to see it. Added by: texmexfla 3/28/2007   http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=14673341&PIpi=5621767
(b) "BattleofLongisland" by Domenick D'Andrea - [1][2]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BattleofLongisland.jpg#mediaviewer/File:BattleofLongisland.jpg
(c) "Forcing a Passage of the Hudson" by Dominic Serres - NMM BHC0420. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Forcing_a_Passage_of_the_Hudson.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Forcing_a_Passage_of_the_Hudson.jpg
(d) "View of the Attack Against Fort Washington crop" by Thomas Davies - This image is available from the New York Public Library's Digital Library under the digital ID 54209 Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:View_of_the_Attack_Against_Fort_Washington_crop.jpg#mediaviewer/File:View_of_the_Attack_Against_Fort_Washington_crop.jpg
(e) This memorial marks the site of Fort Washington. Constructed by the continental troops in the summer of 1776 Taken by the British after a heroic defense November 16, 1776 Repossessed by the Americans upon their triumphal entry into the city of New York November 25, 1783.
Erected through the generosity of James Gordon Bennett by the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution November 16, 1901 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
(f) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. "." Retrieved February 16 2015 from  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/_/viewer.aspx?path=hm&name=A5gig-1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thefreedictionary.com%2Fgig

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 58: Hans Adam Bittinger

It appears that the Bittingers may have been from Bern, Switzerland, and immigrated to the Alsace/Lorraine (Strasbourg, Zutzendorf, Bokenheim, Schiltigheim, Durstel)  region in about 1660, where 2 generations were born including

Hans Adam Bittinger in about 1698. He was the son of Peter Bittinger and Mary Sabina Braum.

Strasbourg, France 

"Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and is located on the left bank of the Rhine River, in France’s northeast. The European parliament, the Court of Human Rights, and the Council of Europe are just some of the famous institutions that have chosen Strasbourg as their seat.

Its Old Town district is a gem waiting to be discovered, and the atmosphere surrounding it is truly enchanting. The heritage-listed area includes the famous Notre-Dame cathedral and the enchanting Petite France district.

Strasbourg is separated from Germany by the Rhine River, and remains proud of its rich and tormented history. Having emerged even stronger from the painful memories of the two World Wars, the city has become the symbol of Franco-German reconciliation, and by extension, of European friendship." (1)   

Hans (26) married Anna Margarethe Schuh (28) (daughter of  Johann Adam Schuh and Anna Marx) on 28 Nov 1724.
They had four sons:

  1. Johann Nicolas (1725)  our ancestor
  2. Johann Henrich (1729)
  3. Georg Michael (1731)
  4. Johann Peter (1734)

The Duke of Lorraine and Imperial troops crossing the Rhine
before Strasbourg during the War of the Austrian Succession, 1744

“The official policy of religious intolerance which drove most Protestants from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 was not applied in Strasbourg and in Alsace, because both had a special status as a province √† l'instar de l'√©tranger effectif (a kind of foreign province of the king of France). Strasbourg Cathedral, however, was taken from the Lutherans to be returned to the Catholics as the French authorities tried to promote Catholicism wherever they could.” (3)

Hans Adam (39) and his family  chose to leave Strasbourg (for religious reasons?) and they arrived in Philadelphia on 30 Aug 1737  from Rotterdam on the ship Samuel.

“Hans Adam is said to have first resided in Lancaster Co., then to have emigrated to the "Conewago Settlements" York Co, PA. His name appears in the church records of the latter place about 1744.” (2)

Anna Margarethe (55) died in 1750, and Hans eventually married Sabina.

“The land embracing the present "Homestead Farm" in Berwick Township, Adams Co., was patented to "Adam Beetinger" by Thomas and Richard Penn, May 7, 1753, under the name of the "Shauman Tract," a family of this name having occupied it for three years previous, probably as squatters.” (2)

Han Adam (69) died 7 Jul 1768 in Hanover, PA. Sabina “survived him, with ten children.”(2)  He could have had six children with Sabina, or they could have been her children from a previous marriage.


  • (1)http://www.frenchmoments.eu/strasbourg/
  • (2) Bittinger AND Bedinger Families, Descendants of  Adam Budinger, 1904, by Lucy Forney Bittinger.
  • (3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strasbourg
  • (4)"Duke of Lorraine crossing the Rhine before Strasbourg-f4340609" by Johann Tobias Sonntag (1716-1774) - Own work by Rama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 fr via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duke_of_Lorraine_crossing_the_Rhine_before_Strasbourg-f4340609.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Duke_of_Lorraine_crossing_the_Rhine_before_Strasbourg-f4340609.jpg
  • http://www.usgwarchives.net/pa/1pa/ship/1737samuel.htm

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

52 Ancestors II, Week 57: David McQueen

David McQueen was born in about 1746, one of three brothers. We don't have a record of his family's immigration, but we can assume that he was of Scotch-Irish descent, as were our other ancestors who were living in Lancaster County, PA at the time.

David was a Revolutionary War Patriot.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775.  Less than a month later, "in May 1775, David is listed as an Ensign, "Liberty Company", Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Captain Jacob Cook commanding."(1)

This was a local volunteer "association." These associations were formed into battalions by county and were known as "Flying Camps" that served on active duty until November 30, 1776.

"In early 1777,  Pennsylvania's new Assembly passed Pennsylvania's first militia law requiring compulsory military service:"(2)

"In July 1777, David is in command of 4th company, 3rd battalion, Col. Alexander Lowery commanding." (1)

View from the British positions at the Battle of White Marsh.
Ink on paper, by cartographer Johann Martin Will

"This militia provided a significant defensive force patrolling the south side of the Schuylkill River and engaged in occasional clashes with British outposts and scouting parties including heavy skirmishes at Whitemarsh on December 7." (2)

"The Battle of White Marsh was a battle fought December 5–8, 1777, in the area surrounding Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania.

George Washington was encamped with the Continental Army just north of British-occupied Philadelphia. From here, Washington monitored British troop movements in Philadelphia and evaluated his options.

On December 4, Gen. Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief of British forces, led a sizable contingent of troops out of Philadelphia in one last attempt to destroy Washington and the Continental Army before the onset of winter. After a series of skirmishes, Howe called off the attack and returned to Philadelphia without engaging Washington in a decisive conflict. With the British back in Philadelphia, Washington was able to march his troops to winter quarters at Valley Forge."(3)

We know that David was at the above mentioned Battle of White Marsh from this document:

"Petition of Christina Little, widow of Nathaniel Little, states the late Nathaniel Little was First Sergeant in Capt David McQueen’s Company, Fourth Battalion of Lancaster County Militia. December 5, 1777 in an engagement with the British at Chestnut Hill was wounded by a musket ball, of which wound he died next day.  One child one year of age survives him, the other having died since his death. Pension Granted.” (4)  

"It is known that no Pennsylvania militia served at Valley Forge, Monmouth, or Yorktown.

Occasionally, militia reinforcements from Lancaster county would be brought in to reinforce the frontiers in the Western part of Pennsylvania in the summer of 1778.

Lancaster County militia duty also provided guards for supply depots and at various prisoner of war camps." (2)

David (33) married Margaret Tate (25) on 28 Mar 1779.  They had 2 girls:
  • Jane on 29 Jan 1780 (our ancestor)
  • Mary on 7 Jul 1781
When his 3 year enlistment term was up, he reenlisted:
  • August, 1780, Captain, 4th company, 7th battalion, PA Militia, Col. Alexander Lowery commanding.
And when that 3 year term was up, he reenlisted again:
  • April, 1783, Captain, 4th company, 4th battalion, PA Militia, Col. Jacob Cook commanding. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris signed on 3 Sep 1783 (1)
Margaret (31) died in 1785 (in childbirth?),  and three years later, David (42) died in 1788.  Their girls would have been 8 and 7 years old when they became orphans. Margaret had 6 siblings and her mother was still living, so perhaps they went to live with relatives. (and David had two brothers, so that is possible as well)

It’s amazing that David was involved in the Revolutionary War from the very beginning to the very end, and yet died 5 years after the war at a young age.

(1) PA Archives, 2nd series, Vol X111, pages 301, 355, 370, 378. "Historical Sketches" of Lancaster, PA, by Samuel Evans


(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_White_Marsh

(4)Pennsylvania Archives › ... Series 5 › Volume IV › Abstracts of Pension Applications on File in the Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania State Library