Iman family notes

May Apple Bottom - and the Neighors

dotClick images below for enlargements to show the location of May Apple Bottom, land in Dauphin owned by Jacob Eyman and Jacob Raeif -- "farmers and distillers".

dot PA Archives Map

dot Dauphin Area

dot Clark's Creek

dot Google Earth View

dot Partial Overlay

dot Fuller Overlay



Jacob Eyman and Jacob Raeif's land, called "May Apple Bottom" in the deeds can be located by superimposing a 1948 Township map of "first owners of land" onto current images of Google Earth. This location turns out to be about three miles from the Susquehanna River as you can see in the following images. Once called Upper Paxtang in the lingua available in 1779 for tax findings, this area is currently referred to as Middle Paxton Township. Eyman lands were at the Susquehanna end of a long narrow valley (Clark's Valley) drained by Clark's Creek. Today, this area is on the rural outskirts of Dauphin, a village of perhaps 300 homes, and serves as an outling bedroom community for Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania, which resides about ten miles to the south.

The Pennsylvania Archive map is produced here only in part since it is quite large (3'x5' or so). Each parcel is identified with date of first registered ownership and the first transfer of title. Jacob Eyman and Jacob Raeif, described as "farmers and distillers" had filed for a warrant on these lands on August 8 of 1787 although the land was not surveyed until 1800, likely in preparation for sale. According to a researcher who inspected the original deed, taxes in arrears were being settled suggesting that improvements had long been made on the property. In reviewing the history of local real estate transactions, land titles in the nearby area were sometimes challenged when improvements had not been developed. The multiple stage process of securing lands in Pennsylvania was complex and is not fully understood by this author. In reading family histories for the area, one hears of prior owners of some of these lands, and of transactions regarding the lands, which are not reflected in the "first owner" connected warrantee map on record. One hears, for instance, that Ludwig Mangster, some of whose property adjoined Eymans, secured some of his land from Karns/Cairns, though nothing like the latter name appears on "first owner" maps. Likely this is a matter of transferring partial and unsecured interests in land somewhat short of survey and full title. The connected warrant map notes that ownership of some properties in the very nearby area was established quite early (that of Thomas Harris, for instance, after whom the capital was named, was warranted n 1754), though the period around new county and township formation after 1785 was a very busy time for formal land registration. Many smaller and out-of-the-way parcels were not formally owned until after 1800, perhaps by new arrivals to the area.

Overlay maps to the left allow you to see the general Dauphin area, and to "zoom in" on the Clark Creek neighborhood toward the outskirts of Dauphin. Successive maps providing differing opacities of Google Earth and "first owner" township maps allow one to define with good precision exactly where Eyman and adjoining properties seem to have been. In general there seems to have been little sub-division or development in this area several hundreds of years later, and so boundarylines are rather easy to observe. The lot number is 20, comprising of both sections A and B, which seem to have been subdivided later. The land seems to border on Clark's Valley Road (325) between Stricker Lane and Knapps Lane (on the North side), though it may proceed further along the road and be defined by Stackpole Lane as an eastern boundary of the property. The land involves several improvements and contains what appear to be several cleared patches, though the land looks forested in comparison with the farmlands on the north side of Clark's Valley Road. Coordinates for the position are 37 25.818'N, 122 05.36'W.

Eymans had an interest in the land and may have resided there. Jacob Eyman appears in many years of local tax findings after 1771, though the other name on the deed, Jacob Raeif does not. Three Eymans served in the militia under Captain James Murray in 1775 and 1776. James and his brother John resided several lots down Clark's Creek. As we'll find in reviewing the neighbors below, most of the Eyman companions through revolutionary war experiences resided within a mile of May Apple Bottom. A lot of very interesting neighbors are discovered within the vicinity. While Clark's Valley is often described as a limestone rich area of the sort that Germans loved to farm, most names in the neighborhood were Scotch-Irish, and from very early arrivals to the new American scene.

The Neighbors:

William Clark

clark Much has been written on this website about William Clark, after whom the valley and creek were named. A portion of his lands warranted in 1767, reside just across Clark's Valley Road and the creek. The Clarks, solid Presbyterians of the Paxtang Church of John Elder, were one of the first families in the area. The first William Clark to setting in Dauphin came to America as a Scotch-Irish immigrant in 1728. He settled in Chester and died there, with his son William, born in Pennsylvania settling in what was called the "Narrows of Paxtang," then "Upper Paxtang township" (Later known as Middle Paxton). Clark settled about two miles up Clark's Creek from the Susquehanna on land which is still known as Clark farm. Clark sometimes rented his land and lived on claims in Northumberland county, though on account of hostilities, lands West of the Susquehanna at times needed to be vacated. This was particularly true during a period which was called the "Great Runaway of 1778-79", when the family buried farming implements, lashed two canoes together, and took what they could on a sail down the Susquehanna to escape back to Middle Paxton. William the youngest of the children in this family, born 1774 was Abraham Eyman's contemporary (born 1774). He became a State Court Judge, and was serving in the US Congress in 1833 when Abraham was in the state legislature for Illinois. He was appointed to the office of Treasurer of the U.S. by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. He held the office until the election of Andrew Jackson as President, after which he returned to Dauphin.

John Black

Just next to William Clark and to the North-west of Eymans was John Black, who had applied for his land in 1773. The Blacks were an old family in this part of Pennsylvania, with representatives of the line appearing in records from as early as 1718. During the revolutionary war the Scotsman served in a battalion organized by the frontiersman and veteran of French Indian affairs, John Reed, serving as a Corporal under Second Lieutenant George Clark.

John Ayres

Adjoining Clark and Black was the land called "Ayresburg". This land is just down Clark's road toward Daupin near the corner where a right turn heads up Peter's Mountain. John was an Irishman who came to Paxtang at the age of 21 with his father and family in 1754. In 1775, on the first call for volunteers, he enlisted in Captain Matthew Smith's company of riflemen and served in Quebec under Arnold but turned sick and was discharged. In 1776 he again enlisted; this time with the company of Captain Manning's Fourth Battalion commanded by Colonel James Burd. His father and several close associates belonged to the same company. When he died in 1825 he was noted as the last of the Revolutionary patriots in the neighborhood. He was twice married in 1781 and 1786. John Ayres was visible in Upper Paxtang tax listing for 1779 directly adjacent to Jacob Eyman. William, the son of John and Jane Lytle grew up on the farm of his father and was a self-educated lawyer. He kept the hotel at the crossing to Peter's mountain and became justice of the peace by 1819. He became a successful lawyer. He served on the town council for Harrisburg and provided leadership in many political initiatives. He provided leadership too in championing bridge building over the Susquehanna, and in private firms developing gas, water, and power. For business purposes, William moved to the northern end of nearby Harrisburg. William was married at Salem Reformed church in Dauphin and spoke German. The John Ayres house on highway 325 Nw of Dauphin was built 1800-1824 as a hotel was added to the National Registry of Historical places in 1979.

John Means

Just north of the Clark's place, and North-west of Eymans, was the land of John Means, which had been taken up by 1767. Here was another Paxton Presbyterian and revolutionary war patriot. Means was a member of Captain Murray's Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion and served in a number of battalions throughout the revolutionary period, serving in fields of battle from Long Island and Yorktown to Georgia and North Carolina. Means was the descendant of one of the first groups of Scots-Irishmen to migrate to the Americas; the will of his ancestor Samuel Means was probated in Harrisburg, PA in March of 1746. Known as "John Means of Swatara" his children were born after the war and like so many in the neighborhood, took up land in Cumberland County.

Jacob Yoner

A Yoner family had taken up lot #13 just north of William Clark and John Means. The land had been taken up by 1761, though like others, Yoners were exploring land to the west. Jacob served in Northumberland militia in 1782. By 1789 there was a person by this name who was a township supervisor in Northumberland County. Yoners seem to have lived in Penn Township of Snyder County at some time before 1800. In 1803, Yoner was listed as a tanner with a log house on Chestnut Street of Sunbury in Northumberland County.

John Richmond

Adjoining the Eyman property, but to the southwest, seems to have lived a John Richmond. He too joined Captain James Murray's company of the Fourth Battalion of Lancaster commanded by James Burd. It should be noted that Richmond took title of the property rather late – in 1793. Court records suggest that there was some contest relating to his claim, though the court reviewed improvements made since 1787 and approved his ownership, and set contending claims aside. In 1770, John Richmond of York had leased Dauphin/Paxtang land on the West side of the Susquehanna from Peter Beaver. Richmond was on the Upper Paxtang tax rolls for 1779, along with so many in the neighborhood.

John Cochran

Also immediately to the south of Eyman lands were those of a John Cochran, though these weren't deeded until 1794. This Cochran is likely closely connected to the Samuel Cochran who held a large parcel on Clark's Creek a mile or so to the West after 1768. John Cochran was a soldier of Captain Murray's company and died in 1789, with his wife Caroline surviving until 1804. This Presbyterian couple had children John, Lydia, Caroline, Ann (married Jeremiah Crain), and Jamison. There were many Cochrans in the area, all descending from a John Cochran who had migrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Chester County. A George Cochran, born about 1736 in Chester, settled on the Swatara where he died in about 1770. His brother, John Cochran, born September of 1730, was Dr. John Cochran, surgeon general of the Revolution, and an intimate friend of George Washington. He died April of 1807.

As mentioned above, Eymans had another Cochran neighbor a mile to the south-west – a Samuel Cochran who held title to his lands from 1768. This Cochran had applied for 260 acres in 1768. Samuel was born, probably in Chester, in 1732 (others say 1738) and served as a private in Captain Rutherford's company of associators in 1776. These "Paxtang Volunteers" from townships around Harrisburg were focused on dealing with Indian incursions, especially in protecting farmers while putting out their crops in the Tuscarora mountains to the west beyond the thickly settled Cumberland Valley. He married Mary Sherer of Paxtang in 1770 and had several children born in the early 1770s who took up land in Cumberland County following the revolutionary war. Other children of this Presbyterian settled in a vast array of places from Allegheny County of Pennsylvania through Cadiz of Ohio, Kansas, and soon Chicago and much farther west. By some accounts, Samuel and his wife had moved to the Monongahela River, ten miles above Pittsburg, before 1800.

John Musser

Also just south of Eyman's lot #20 was lot#18, which had been filed for in 1767 by John Musser, likely of German ancestry since there are references to a John Musser of Dauphine in church records for Salem Reformed church in Harrisburg. According to Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record published in 1846, "the first discovery of anthracite coal was made by John Musser 72 years ago (1774) on the top of Sharp mountain, a few miles east of the Susquehanna river in Dauphin County, near the lands of William Clark."

John Dice

Across Clark's Valley Road from Eyman lands was a plantation called Mulberry Bottom and owned by John Dice. John appears on tax records for Upper Paxtang in 1779 and he served with Eyemans under Captain James Murrray starting late in 1775 and present at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. His land was applied for within a month or two of Jacob Eyman's filing. Little else has been found about this family, perhaps relating to spelling issues in converting Germanic names lie Deiss/Theiss? 133 1786 (Johannes Deiss? Theiss?)

Jacob Hassinger

Just north of the Dice land is property which Jacob Hassinger applied for in 1774. Little has been learned about his family through the revolutionary war period, though like so many neighbors, the post-war period involved transitioning to the West. By 1782 there was a Jacob Hassinger paying taxes on land described as being in Penn's Township of Northumberland County. At the time, Jacob had 2 horses, 4 cattle, and 5 sheep on his 60 acres. In 1785 for Penns Township, he was noted as a "miller" when he received additional land from Herman Hassinger, a tanner of Heidlberg Township, Berks; likely building with the 400 acres whch he warranted in the County of Northumberland in 1794. Jacob is listed as a resident of Beaver Township for 1789 in the Annals of Buffalo Valley. In 1813, upon Jacob's death, a portion of his land in Beaver (Buffalo Valley, now Centre Township) was conveyed to the United Lutheran and Calvinist Church.

Jacob Shafner

The property adjoining Eyman lands on the east side were filed for in 1769 by Jacob Shafner. This is a name of great interest since First Reformed records show that a Catherine Egman married a John Schaffner in 1790, though the township origin of John was described as Derry. Jacob Shafner appears on tax rolls for Paxtang Continental Tax for 1779. More is to be learned about this Shafner family and it's extent. In 1773, a Henry Shafner purchased lot Number 215 in the new town of Middletown in Paxton Township.

George Gartner

Little is known about the Gartners who lived east of Eymans and secured their lands in 1774, though a George Gartner served under Captain Wallace in local militia toward the end of the revolutionary war. That George may be of Germanic extraction is suggested by finding the name as a witness to a 1774 estate of a nearby Peter Brucker (of Heidelberg Township) with associated names of Roos and Naphziger.

Ludwig Minsker

There are a number of plots in the neighborhood with the names of Minskers/Mangsters attached. The land touching Imans was in the name of Ludig, but not filed for until 1795, and therefore more likely that of the son of Ludwig Minsker as described at the Mansker Family Website, Some of the earliest tales about indian raids on Peter's Mountain feature Ludwig's cleverness. His son Caster/Gasper Mansker was among the long knife hunters in 1769 who headed out to open up Kentucky and built forts in Tennessee. It's thought, by the way, that this son of Ludwig may have been raised in part with the Harmon family on the South Branch not far from where Imans headed following the revolutionary war. Ludwig signed up and served with Captain Murray in 1775 just like the Eymans did before there was a draft. In May of 1776 he wrote a last will and testament. He needed it since he died in November of the year of wounds or from illness caused by the lousy conditions that did in so many of his fellow soldiers. Ludwig's son George volunteered to troops whose job it was to protect settlers from Indians in Northumberland County. Son John was a drummer boy. Ludwig Junior turned out for militia with Captain James Murray at the same time that the boy next door, Peter Eyman did.

James Bell

Just South and east of Eyman lands is that of a James Bell. This was land taken up in 1815 by one of many Bells in the area. In taxes for 1790, for instance, there were eleven distinct family clusters carrying the Scotch-Irish name; among them three John Bells and two Williams, though only one James! This may be a younger Bell whose military leadership came later in the war. It's interesting to note that in 1781, Christy Eyeman served under Captain James Bell for militia from Allen Township of Cumberland County. This is likely the Samuel Bell who was born 1748 and who married Ann Berryhill and remained in Dauphin until 1825. It seems likely that he was serving in Cumberland for 1781 and applying later for lands in Middle Paxton, deciding like so many that western living in the closer scope, had it's limitations. Bell is an old Irish name long in this area of Pennsylvania and soon throughout Mifflin and the Cumberland Valley. Many served in militia during General Braddock's campaign and through the many decades of hostilities requiring defense. Though records are scant, the will of Walter, one of John's sons, seems to suggest that Samuel was a son of Walter's brother William. A John Bell came from Ireland in 1719 to Bucks County and appears in Presbyterian records. His son John, born 1703, migrated into Dauphin before 1750 after selling land in Donegal Township of Lancaster. John appears on tax lists for Paxton Tonwship in 1750, and had a son John who was paying rent on his land from 1763. The last record of John the father seems to be from late in 1777 where he appeared at (John) Garber's Mill at Fort Hunter when his son William swore that the father was over 53 years of age.

The Murrays

Four lots away, and down at the mouth of Clark's Creek on the Susquehanna itself were the Murrays, who provided a great deal of the military and political leadership of the community around the revolutionary war.

John Murray, born about 1731 in Scotland took up a tract of land in the neighborhood in 1766 immediately above his brother James' farm. He commanded a rifle company in March of 1776 that participated in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton. He was promoted to major in 1777 and lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Pennsylvania regiment in 1780, serving until the disbanding of the army in 17783. When he returned to the neighborhood he was appointed as a justice of the peace in 1791.

James Murray, a second son of William Murray in Scotland, was born about 1729. His land patent was dated 1768. In 1775 he was chosen as a member of the Committee of Safety for the township, and on the 8th of November took his place in the general committee for Lancaster County. On July 4th of 1776 he was promoted to Captain. Four days later, by appointment of the Provincial Conference, he supervised an election at Garber's Mill to make a choice of delegates to the convention that framed the first constitution for Pennsylvania. Eyemans had joined his troops very early and went to New Jersey in August 1776 and were likely absent from the area until January or February of 1777. He married Rebecca McLane, a native of Scotland and lived on his farm until 1804.

Other Neighbors:

John Garber 1773

Just South of the Murrays along the Susquehanna toward the village of Dauphin was "Fort Hunter" which had been applied for by John Garber in 1773 and confirmed by the proprietaries in 1774. Garber had a mill which was commonly used as a meeting place for the community. Given the Eyman connection to Garbers this is a fascinating name to find in the neighborhood though no connections have been made to the mother of Jacob Eyman <1725>, or to the Garbers who were Brethren leaders in the Rockingham area. For 1779, one of the few tax records available, there were both a John and a Michael Garber paying taxes iin Paxtang. Garber sold his interest in the mill and lands to Archibald McAllister in 1787.

John (Johann Wendel) Fackler

Also in Middle Paxton Township and not far from Eymans was land that was applied for in 1815 by Wendel Fackler. Who was born 1746 and died 1823 in Dauphin. Had a son George in 1767. The father, known as "Wendel" was a non-associator and (though there are no church records) is thought to have been a member of the Swatara Congregation of German Baptist Brethren, several of their children seeming to have married members of the congregation. This is very likely the George Fackler who purchased May Apple Bottom from Jacob Hutts in the early 1800s following Eyman's sale to Hutts. A George Fackler believed to have been the son of Wendel migrated to Huntingdon County, and from there to Miami County of Ohio and had a son Valentine. The date on migration suggests that George had married Maria Miller and was having children in Ohio by 1789.

Thomas Sturgeon

Born 1731 in Donegal Township of Lancaster, this settler of Irish stock secured his land in 1766 and moved to various parts of Dauphin, later migrating to Mifflin. He had several mills as his business. He had fourteen children, including a Thomas born 1762.

Henry McCloskey

McCloskey lands weren't secured until 1794 though Henry served with Eyeman and others under James Murray. He was born in 1745 and migrated to Butler County of Ohio in 1803.

John Wyeth

The Wyeths, very likely related to the well known artists of Lancaster barns, didn't secure land in Dauphin until after 1800, but are such interesting neighbors that they bear description. John, born of Ebenezer Wyeth in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1770 apprenticed in th printing business and when launching a career was talked into going to San Domingo to supervise a large establishment. While there a revolution occurred and was barely escaped by pretending to be a common sailor in order to get out of port. He worked for a while in Philadelphia and then came in 1792 to Harrisburg and co-purchased the newspaper Dauphin Oracle, which he operated for many years. He was appointed postmaster for Harrisburg by George Washington, though President Adams removed him on account of the "incompatibility of the office of postmaster and editor of a newspaper." Wyeth operated a bookstore and became renown as an author of the church hymnal music which he compiled.

Wars get people moving and making new connections. The people we've seen here were mainly Scotch-Irish, though some of Germanic or Swiss-German origins are apparent. We've not discovered much about many other names appearing on the maps -- often Neffs, Haldemans, and other Germanic sounding stock. The breadth of talents in the community seem broad. While most were involved in defending the community or nation, there were likely non-associators among them, and the community undoubtedly contained unlanded and less visible components, including upstarts along the lines of the Paxton Boys. Bringing the 17th century to a close, this region had seen a great deal of pain and turmoil. And now the new country was getting started. Eymans had had land claims over in Cumberland in Buffalo Valley, Penn's Township, and along Penn's Creek. Christian had sold his interest in land between Seven Star Tavern and Oriental Post Office by 1770, but he and Jacob were standing in line when the land office first opened for business west of the Susquehanna. They took adjoining plots of 300 acres on a tributary to Penn's Creek and later had to go to court to fend off poachers who were trying to get their lands surveyed. At about the time of the "great runaway", major Indian raids and slaughter at the home and mill on the very next property down the tributary to Clark's Creek must have made the prospect of settling there daunting. Following the war, most families of the Middle Paxton neighborhood were heading into Northumberland, Mifflin, and Cumberland. For some reason as yet unknown, our direction was further afield, and the aim was down the mountain passages. We were not alone in this migration to new lands, or to the south, for those who had headed there a decade before were often preparing to move on.