Iman family notes

West Virginia Imans

 

WV Timeline

dotMill Place Plantation

dotElkhorn Cave

Mill Place Deed

dot Spring Run Trout

Hardy County Taxpayers

Emmert Bittinger on Imans

 

falls at Brake Run

Four Eymans became mountain people of Virginina. Rather than inhabit the fertile valleys of Rockingham, we're refererring to those who lived high up in the Appalachians along the "South Branch" (of the Potomac River)on the lands of Lord Fairfax. The area around today's Petersburg WV was home to many Eymans for over twenty years before the large majority proceeded West in the ongoing quest for land. Christian migrated here first, in 1787, followed by Peter and Jacob, then Abraham. We can't say exactly how all of these relate to one another, but at least Christian, Jacob, and Peter seem closely linked (and Abraham <1767> sure knew them; witnessing deeds and marrying into the same families!)

There's no question but that Jacob is from Upper Paxtang and was married to Barbara Jones at the First Reformed Church of Lancaster. Since his lands adjoin those of Christian Eyman, these two look to be the Chrisley and Jacob who served in Paxtang militia together in 1775. Peter is younger and from the same neighborhood. He serve in the militia too, but not until 1781; most likely too young to have been subject to call-ups earlier. Peter served under the same Captain James Murray that the other Eymans had reported to. All of these pointers suggest Peter as a younger brother. If these three are sons of Jacob <1725>, the same may also be the case for Abraham. There is so much confusion about Abraham's parentage though, that we'll take up that issue later.

Christian Iman owned over 500 acres of land in West Virginia during the 1790s. Many Imans and Eymans migrated from this area to Ohio and to Illinois shortly after 1800, though some remained in what's today called Grant County. The descendants of these Eymans were often described as "dunkers" - German Baptists of the sort who were developing the Brethren church. There's a great deal to learn about these Imans, how they related (if at all) to "Conestoga" Eymans, or those of nearby Rockingham County, Virginia. Emmert Bittinger wrote about the Eymans and their close ties with many families in the area. He believes that Christian was a descendent of earlier migrants to the Shenandoah, and believes that Christian may have come to America with Christian Eyman <1701> in 1750 on the Royal Union to Philadelphia from Rotterdam. Others believe this Christian to be the eldest son of Ulrich, who arrived in American in 1763 and died shortly thereafter.

We can be sure that as early as 1787, a Christian Iman, appeared on local personal propterty tax rolls. We could guess, but don't know that he was married at the time. There were no children over 16 in the house, though there was a male in the over the age of 21. Christian also had a horse -- an important asset in those days. If we are to assume that the "over 21" male was a son, our Christian was most likely born over 40 years earlier -- no later than 1747. Census data for this area was scarce in those days. The first surviving Federal census for Hampshire County was taken in the year 1810. The 1790 and 1800 censuses were burned by the British during the War of 1812. There were, however, Hampshire County census taken in 1782 and 1784. No Imans appear on Hampshire tax rolls for 1782 or 1784. This may be an oversight by tax collectors who went from door-to-door in those days, though it may also suggest that Imans had not yet arrived to the South Branch. The first solid evidence of land ownership arises when grants were issues by the Fairfax proprietary.

The contemporary map to the right provides a number of points of interest related to Iman lands which are thought to overlap with those held by Christian Iman in the 1790s. This map is provided by Carl Iman, who currently lives at #6 on the map. He was born at #1 on the map.

What Carl identifies as the "old Iman properties" encompasses most of the area in this diagram, with perimeters touching the small towns of Landes, Pansy, Hiser, Dorcas, and Rough Run. Middle Mountain centers the property, with North and South Mill Creek on either side. Mill creek flows into the South Branch of the Potomac just East of today's Petersburg (population 2500). This is appelachian hill country directly East of the Monongahela National Forest, where about half of the 36 inches of precipitation a year may be in the form of snow. Poultry, cattle farming, mining, and timbering are still major economic activities in the area.

 

Among the neighbors of the Imans was the Tschudy family, also of Swiss-German origin. Their name became Judy. Among the first family businesses was the E.L. Judy and Company, a small country store at Pansy. A number of IUmans were customers of the score as shown by old record books of transactions dating from 1894 and 1895. A number of Imans were listed in the ledgers: George H, Jacob, Jacob, Jr., Jacob M., James W., Mary E., and Rebecca. IN 1895 the Judys sold the store to William Harman, who had long been a customer. Harmans remained owners of the store until about 1950 when a Grandson, Ernest Mullines converted the store to it's current use - home of the Pansy Opry House.

 

Educator H.H. Eyman is listed in E. L. Judy's "History of Grant and Hardy County West Virginia" as an early teacher in Grant County. He appears at the upper right in the photograph whe he had taken as a gift to members of his school term ending February 18, of 1916. The old schoolhouse had been located at #3 on the map above. The photographer, G. W. Kesner had lived at #2 on the map.

 

Among the most popular names of Imans and Eymans has been Jacob. That's a Jacob from West Virginia on the right. He's the grandfather of Leanna Crawford of Petersburg, West Virginia.

Abraham Walter Iman
Abraham Walter was the great grandson of the Christian and Catherine of Hardy. He was the grandson of Emanuel, and the son of the gunsmith, Cornelius Iman and Hannah Kimble. Born in 1861 in Grant County, he married Mary Cosner, and is the ancestor of Imans living in the Elk Garden area of West Virginia today. He died in 1918 in Mineral County.

Look closely at that right hand of his and you'll see a tattoo. If anybody knows why he wore that or what it might mean, please let us know! You could email or post a message in the Iman forums.

The Abraham Walter Iman family in about 1906-1910 from top left. Lucy Jane, Carrie, In-law holding Tom, Grandma Mary K, Grandpa Abraham W., Ethel, Harry (aka Pete), Richard, Edna, Hilda, Ada, Nora holding Delpford Whetsell, Arlie Whetsell with Albert Whetsell. Picture is thought to have been taken by John Iman, brother to Abraham.