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Category Archives: Oswalt Family History

“…a perpetual debt of gratitude…”

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Jacob Oswalt III, son of Jacob Oswalt II

Jacob Oswalt III, son of Jacob Oswalt II

I publish this as it appeared. The bold type is mine to highlight the pioneer life. Read it and ponder the totally different lives our ancestors lived in those times.

“A Pioneer Gone / A Sketch of the Life of Jacob Oswalt, Who Came to Ohio in 1802 – Written for the Review,” from the eighth page of “The Alliance Weekly Review,” Alliance, OH, Wednesday, 4 May 1887:

Jacob Oswalt died near Strasburg, Stark County, Ohio, April 25, 1887. He was born in Bedford County, Pa., January 1st, 1797, and had reached the advanced age of 90 years, 3 months and 26 days. In 1803, the year that Ohio became a state, his parents moved from Pennsylvania and settled on the banks of Yellow Creek, Jefferson county, when, the deceased was but five years old. In 1807 they moved from Jefferson County to Carroll County, and settled down in Rose Township, three miles south of Waynesburgh, on the road leading from Canton to Steubenville. At that time there were but two or three log cabins in Canton and only three families living on the road between Canton and Steubenville. In 1822, in the month of December, Father Oswalt was united in marriage to Catherine Waggoner, with whom he walked pleasantly in life for almost sixty-five years, and who is now left behind to mourn her loss, being 84 years of age, and remarkably well preserved for one who bears the weight of so many years. To them were born thirteen children, nine boys and four girls, eight of whom are yet living, five having preceded their father in death. In 1832 Father Oswalt came to Washington township, where he has lived for fifty-five years. In 1841 he joined the German Baptist church, that humble, plain, honest, upright and devout people, everywhere of good report, with whom he continued in fellowship until death. He was an exemplary Christian, scrutinizingly honest in his dealings, peaceful and helpful as a neighbor, affectionate and dutiful as a husband and father, and was highly esteemed and loved by all, and was of that class of citizens that form the very marrow of every well regulated community, and such as are always sadly missed when called away. His last end was peace. He filled well his part in the earnest activities of a noble life, and has passed on to a good reward in the land where saints never die. When Father Oswalt left Jefferson County to come to Carroll, the forests were infested with bears, wolves and other savage animals, as well as savage Indians. Wild game of all kinds, such as deer, wild turkeys,etc., also abounded. The deceased learned to speak the Indian language fluently, and was well acquainted with “Beaver Hat,” an old Indian chief, who lived in an Indian town near the present Canal Dover. He was also well acquainted with all the pioneers along Sandy Valley–such men as Judge Loefler, Gen. Augustine Porter, Capt. Downing, Miller, Huff, Thompson Titball, and many others. At that time nearly all the land about Canton and Massillon belonged to the government and could be entered at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Father Oswalt was a celebrated hunter, unequalled in all the surrounding country, and was threatened by the Indians at different times because he was a more expert marksman and hunter than they. He would slay from forty to eighty deer each fall and winter, and scores of wild turkeys. As a bounty was given for wolf scalps, about the only money they could secure was from this source and the sale of wild honey. His uncle Michael Oswalt was a member of the Ohio Legislature at an early day and was one of the prime movers of the Ohio Canal, advocating the measure with great zeal before that body, and lived to see it accomplished, and shared in the financial prosperity that it produced. It will be seen by this brief history that Jacob Oswalt in his long life, passed through eventful scenes, and saw the wilderness turned into fruitful fields of finest cultivation, canals made, steamboats navigating our lakes and rivers, railroads netting the whole land, the telegraph connecting continent with continent, by which distance is decimated and almost the ends of the earth are brought together and communication held in a few seconds of time. He passed through all the wonders, civil, religious and otherwise of the nineteenth century. He belonged to the hardy, honest, self-sacrificing, industrious, frugal class of pioneers that is now so rapidly becoming extinct. He raised a large and honourable family amid the privations of early settlement and the pressure of hard times. The children and grandchildren will never be able to realize what the fathers and mothers passed through in the settlement of the country and the preparation of the comfortable homes, which they now enjoy, but they owe a perpetual debt of gratitude to them for their toils, privations and hardships, and should ever hold their memory revered and sacred. Their noble work is done and most of them sleep quietly amid the beauty and prosperity that their hands of toil secured, and the few remaining pilgrims will soon be gathered home to “our Father’s house of many mansions.– At the request of the friends the writer conducted the funeral services of Father Oswalt, the principal service being held at the Beech church, where a larger number, especially of old persons, had assembled to hear testimony to the sterling qualities of the deceased and to condole with the living in the great loss. The services were solemn, and the people listened with attention to the discourse, founded in Numbers, 23:10–“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” Peace to the slumbering ashes of the dead, and blessings upon his living. B.F.Booth Massillon, O., April 30, 1887.

Thank you to Gayle Schell for creating WikiTree profile Oswalt-23 through the import of SCHELL NICHOLS ancestors of Gayle 8-2013.ged on Aug 8, 2013

The Morges, Rose Township Gamble

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Plat Map of Morges, Ohio 1874

Plat Map of Morges, Ohio 1874 (from Wiki Free pages)

This post follows the family of Jacob Oswalt II and Sarah Huston Oswalt, my 4x great grandparents. They made their home in Rose Township, Carroll County, Ohio.[i] While researching, I would dive down into multitudes of data and then rush to the surface gasping for air attempting to get my bearings. How to explain so many eddies in an ocean of information, and do it in a way that makes sense? Finally, I adopted a plan. Provide a brief overview and then direct the detail-oriented reader to more in-depth information. As always, I welcome any input and/or questions from readers. Genealogical research is always a work in progress. Here goes…

The majority of Oswalt family members, including Jacob and Sarah, lived in Rose Township, Carroll County, Ohio up until 1830.[ii] Soon after 1830 Sarah died and, by 1840, everything had changed. She seemed to be the glue that held the family together. After Sarah’s death Jacob, her husband, left for Seneca County with his daughter Martha and her husband Daniel Wymer where, along with land, he invested in lots for a new town called Springville. DOC Ironically, as you will see, the new town never prospered. His son, Jacob Jr., moved on to Mosimo, Ohio and became a prominent citizen.[iii] In my next post, I share a brief biography of him. It provides insight into these peoples lives, including what they learned and experienced on the edge of settled America.

As Jacob Oswalt prepared to leave the county, his son, Samuel, was forming a partner with John Waggoner (two of John’s children married Oswalts.) They founded Morges, Ohio in 1831. The town would provide small lots for family homes, storefronts to sell products and produce from their land, and a place for small industries to flourish such as blacksmithing and weaving.

Most likely Andrew Croy, my 3X great grandfather, sold lumber from his sawmill and, maybe, ground corn from his gristmill in the town. He owned a lot there until 1838. His sons, Michael and Jacob Croy, (my great, great grandfather) briefly owned lots in the town, as well.

Canals were being planned, and perhaps they anticipated taking advantage of them. But the Eerie/Ohio Canal and a secondary canal, the Sandy-Beaver Canal bypassed the town by miles. Did they know that at the time? Were they betting that they would come nearer? Or did they simple put all their chips on hope?

By reading tax records from 1833 to 1838, a picture emerges of land lots owned briefly and then sold, with the inhabitants moving on to other places promising greater prosperity. Samuel’s gamble did not pay. By 1835 a list of delinquent lot taxes included Andrew Croy, Michael Croy, John Kimmel, Nicholas McGuire, Samuel Robertson, and Thomas Simonton (who had married Elizabeth Oswalt.) As an aside, neither Samuel Oswalt nor Andrew Croy allowed their major property holdings to go delinquent. Their acreage was too important.

Most significant of all was Samuel Oswalt, listed as delinquent on four lots (numbers 16, 33, 25, and 2.) By 1836, the tax recorder listed the owner of all Samuel’s lots as “unknown.” Perhaps his family, when asked about the lots, simply shrugged their collective shoulders, protecting him from ruin. Samuel continued to live in the area through 1838, but, so far as I know, no further record of him exists.

Morges never grew. It continues very much as it did then. Comparing a Google Map of Morges with the one at the beginning of this post, you can make out Samuel and John’s original lots. New people live in new(er) homes and the street names have changed. Richmond Street is now called Bachelor, and St. John Street is now called Bark. But they all look out on old St. Mary’s Church, sitting on land John Waggoner donated for the purpose long, long ago. [iv]

The majority of family members moved on to places in Iowa, Virginia, and Indiana, as well as the Ohio counties of Stark, Jefferson, and Coshocton.[v] Of these places, Andrew Croy and Susanna Oswalt Croy, along with sons Michael, Jacob, and David, choose Coshocton County. The Eerie-Ohio Canal dissected Coshocton County, bringing them and their family a small level of prosperity.

For more detailed information regarding Morges lot ownership, family migrations, and Rose Township in general consult my Morges Lots spreadsheet, Morges, Ohio Lot Ownership 1833-38, the new and updated family sheets for “Western PA,” Western PA family sheet and this information on Rose Township.

[i] Rose Township, part of Stark County until 1835, became part of the newly formed Carroll County, Ohio in 1835. Since the decade discussed here straddles that time period, I refer to Carroll County throughout in an attempt to avoid confusion.
[ii] See previous post for more detail
[iii] Newspaper article, Alliance Review, 1909
[iv] Karen Gray, Rose Township, Carroll County, Ohio (September 2008) pg. 15
[v] 1840, 1850, 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. (NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

“The family became widely scattered.” Part 5

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The Huston Sisters’ Journey: Rachel and Sarah [i]

Rose Township, Section 17, Site of Morges, Ohio

Rose Township, Section 17, Site of Morges, Ohio from US Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats

As I mentioned in the previous post, by 1800 three Huston sisters had migrated with their husbands to what would be Rose Township, Stark County, Ohio. Mary and Rachel would lean heavily on Sarah when, within a ten year period, they both lost their husbands.  One remarried and the other maintained her independence, but both would need a comforting hand and thoughtful heart. Mary’s husband, Jacob Croy died soon after recording his land grant at the Stubenville Land Office on August 2, 1805. He may have made the trip to Stubenville once again, this time with Sarah’s husband, Jacob Oswalt. Their friendship had flourished in Pennsylvania, and their families were close, very close. Perhaps their adult sons, Andrew Croy, young Jacob Croy, and Samuel Oswalt, joined them on the fifty-mile journey. For sure though, Jacob laid claim to Section 12, Township 16, Range 7 in Stubenville on September 24, 1805, barely two months after Jacob Croy. [ii] Meanwhile, Rachel’s husband, Isaiah McClish, never appears on any records for Rose Township. He, like Jacob Croy, died early, before 1818. [iii] By 1820 Rachael McClish appears independently on the census records, a sure indication that she was widowed or abandoned. The US census only began recording the names of women and children in 1850. She was still widowed and living in Rose Township in 1840, not far from Sarah. Andrew Croy, son of Sarah’s sister Mary, had married Sarah’s daughter Susanna and stayed close to the family. He purchased the southeast quarter of section 17, Township 16, Range 7 on April 2, 1829.[iv] By this time, Jacob and Sarah Oswalt were over sixty years of age.[v] They began thinking of their families’ futures. Meanwhile, the American Dream dangled before every eye. Land was plentiful, undeveloped, and in demand. The new settlers both required goods and longed to profit from producing, selling, and transporting them. The canal system connecting the Great Lakes was conceived as the two Jacobs registered their land grants. By 1817 construction on the Erie Canal began and was completed in 1825. Ohio men of vision, including Jacob Oswalt’s brother Michael[vi], began planning canals to connect the Erie and the Ohio River. Towns sprang up everywhere out of both necessity and hope. The town of Morges in Rose Township grew from the dreams of Samuel Oswalt and John Wagonner.[vii]  By 1828 Wagonner had purchase Jacob Oswalt’s section, the one he claimed in 1805. The funds from that purchase probably financed the Oswalt portion of the gamble called Morges, platted in 1831. The two men relied heavily on family to further the project, but the direction of commerce can shine or tarnish a dream.  Ohio’s star would shine elsewhere in the state.Morges Marker


[i] Direct Ancestors: Jacob Oswalt and Sarah Huston Oswalt (child- Susanna), 7th gen. Jacob Croy and Mary Huston Croy (child-Andrew), 7th gen. Andrew Croy and Susanna Oswalt Croy 6th gen.
[ii] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Township Plats of Selected States; Series#; T1234; Roll: 50 from Public Land Survey Township Plats, compiled 1789-1946 Records of Bureau of Land Management (Ancestry. Com. U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898 (database on-line). Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.)
[iii] Will and Probate Dispute ADD
[iv] U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907[database on-line] Provo, UT, Operations Inc, 2008 Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project: Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007
[v] 1830 US Census: Census Place: Rose, Stark, Ohio: Page: 206; NARA Series: M19; Roll Number: 140; Family History Film: 0337951 Source Info: 1830 United States Federal  Census NOTE: by error recorded as Lexington Township.
[vi] Letter to Thomas Rotch from Michael Oswalt dated Jan. 9, 1818 re: canal connecting the Eerie to “the hed waters of the Tuscaraurs branch of muskingum River…” Archive # B-133-1, records of P McHenry, private holding
[vii] Karen Gray, Rose Township, Carroll county, Ohio (September 2008) pg. 4,

Revolutionary War Roll Call on the 4th of July

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“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” — Tom Paine, 1776

I dedicate this day and this posting to the Revolutionary War Militia of Bedford County, PA, 1st Battalion, Captain Samuel Paxton’s Company (including Will’s Creek Settlement Co.) and the award winning web site Mother Bedford. Visit it for great documentation of Revolutionary War times, particularly in Pennsylvania.

Paternal ancestors (in bold) and relations who were Members of Captain Samuel Paxton’s Co., 1st Battalion, Bedford Militia 1778-1780,

  • Jacob (Crow)Croy: Sergeant & Ensign (Will’s Creek Settlement Co.); 1781- Captain William McCall’s Co, 7th Reg.,3rd Battalion
  • Alexandr(Alexander) Huston
  • Andrew Huston: Sergeant; 1781- Captain William McCall’s Co, 7th Reg.,3rd Battalion
  • Ritchard(Richard) Croy
  • Edward Huston
  • Robert Huston: 1776-Captain Richard Brown’s Co., Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, Pennsylvania Line
  • Mikel(Michael) Oswalt
  • Tobies(Tobias) Oswalt
  • Isiah McLess (Isaiah McLish)

Where in Will’s Creek? …and great Library of Congress blog

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Where they lived?

Where they lived?

This week I buried myself in the world of land warrants, attempting to determine approximately where those tenacious Will’s Creek settlers lived. The picture above, with the help of Google Earth, is my best guess. I created a table (found at the end of the post) briefly explaining each number on the map.

Many known settlers who appeared on tax records did not appear in land warrants. Numerous pioneers of the time, especially those on the colonial frontiers, rejected any expectation to warrant and/or pay for land, considering it an infringement on their free right of settlement.

For me, it is time to move on. This time I travel, virtually, to Northeastern Ohio. As the century turned a page, so did our nation’s history. The Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War opened lands to settlement north of the Ohio River. Go to this recent and outstanding Library of Congress blog by Erin Allen outlining early efforts to inform local tribes as well as British outposts of this land transfer to the newly formed United States.

You can also access the journal by George McCully at this site. A member of the expedition charged with sharing the outcome of the treaty, he documents the trek from Pittsburg, PA to Detroit. His detailed account of the excursion gives insight into the journey many in the Will’s Creek community were about to undertake. As always, original source documents are the best way to learn about the past. So, please, access his journal and read Erin Allen’s excellent explanation of the period! While you are at it subscribe to the blog. It is very good.

Land Warrant and Deed Information (As a disclaimer, I am not a resident of the area so lack the “inside track” regarding historical tidbits useful in explaining some references in the warrants. So, please, if you are out there, I appreciate any clarification.)


Warrant Applicant Date Detail
#1 Andrew Huston Sr. From3/1/1763App. 12/2/1784 50 ac bound on W John Hawthorns Tract; NW George Cook; N Nicolas Liberger; E Alex. Ross; S Wills-Town-Tract Mouth of Gladens Run
#2 Cornelius Devore Esq 9/16/1792 150 ac W side Wills Creek joining his 200 and lands surveyed for Andrew Huston
#3CastbarFosholt/Philip Devore 5/20/1793 surveyed for Jacob Oswalt Jr; Oct. 26/ 1795 transferred to Alex. Huston; 5/26/1803 transferred to Castbar Fosholt; 5/10/1830 sold to Philip Devore $300 100 acres adjoining Nicholas Lybarger, Jacob Oswalt Sr. and on W by a Mt. on a small branch of Gladwens Run part of Wills Creek
#4 Benjamin Tomlinson From 3/1/1765 app. 3/29/1790 60 ac E side joining Wills Creek opposite mouth of Gladdens Run joining Wills-Town-Tract
#5 George Cook 4/23/1793 100 ac on Laurel Run both sides of rd from Simon Hays mill
#6 Andrew Huston Jr. 5/9/1815 A weaver applis for 25 ac joining Wills Mountain on E; W Cornilias Devere, Benjamin Tomblingson; S Andrew Huston

So far I have not located any land warrants for Laurence Lamb, Jacob Croy, Jacob Neimyer, Anthony Asher, John Hains, John Albright, Valentine Baker, George Amrine, Martin Fait, Godfrey Woolback, John Blyew, or John Porter to name a few.

An Account of Frontier Revolutionary Service: Nicholas Lyberger

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“In the fall of the year 1776, in the month of November about the 15th the Indians made an incursion into Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County and burnt Ulrick’s Mill and Killed all Ulrick’s family but one who was absent at the time. On this occasion all the volunteers and Militia of Bedford county were called out and some from Conegocheague. We were collected at the town of Bedford and Col Davidson of the Militia took the command. I was then as a volunteer in the company commanded by Lieutenant Oserwalt.”

The above quote provides a small taste of the extreme conditions endured by those who chose to live on the edge of the Pennsylvania frontier in the 1700’s. The hazards amplified as the Shawnee and Iroquis began escalating their attacks, stirred by British promises to ban settlements west of the Ohio River in exchange for their support. As I hinted in an earlier posting, the most vivid accountings of frontier life in the 18th century come from first person recollections. Revolutionary pensions were long offered only to those unable to make a living on their own. But an 1832 law offered pensions to all who served in the war, as well as their widows. If the veteran did not have a record of service, he would submit a petition through his state of residence and include an extensive personal narrative. These first-hand accounts are extraordinary resources. Nicolas Lybarger (Liebarger/Liberger etc.) who lived in the Will’s Creek area of then Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County (later Londonderry Township) provided a fabulous narrative in his petition. Portions have been quoted in other historical accounts. I have transcribed the complete petition here. Petition of Nicholas Lyberger for Revolutionary War Pension The “Oserwalt” mentioned here is Michael Oswalt, son of Jacob Oswalt Sr. Hustons and Croys probably also participated in these excursions. (See Outline of inhabitants of Wills Creek from the previous post.) Later, in April of 1847, the wife of Nicholas, Christina Lyberger, petitioned for widow’s benefits. Her daughter Elizabeth Devore placed her mark by her name proving the veracity of the claim. Included was a page copied from a family bible by Nicholas Lyberger, a “Dutch” bible as the record states.  While mostly illegible (He copied it but made a mark when he signed his name so likely didn’t understand what he copied.) the name Croy appears at the bottom of the page, just another testament to the closely connected families of the Will’s Creek settlement.

The Croys meet the Pughs and Paynes

ohio riverAt the beginning of the 1800’s, with the opening of the Ohio Territory, our adventurous family looked to new vistas and soon moved to lands just north of the Ohio River on its eastern, middle, and western edges. This romantic view of the Ohio gives a feel for the time but not its difficulties. There are a number of excellent books written in the 1800’s that provide great insights into, not just these pioneer lives but their world view as well. The Ohio families include Andrew Croy and Susanna Oswalt, Zerah Payne and Amy Felch, Henry Smith and Sephronia Payne, Jacob Croy and Mary Huston, and Calvin Croy and Sarah Smith. Ohio Family Sheets a PDF document

A note to the family members who received the book: There is much more information about the service records of the seven boys of Jacob and Margaret Croy who served in the Civil War in the Family Sheets, as well as more detail about the various children of the Ohio Croys.