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Progeny of Jacob Oswalt and Sarah Huston Oswalt

Maggie Carter Smith feels like one of those little wind up ducks you find in an import store, the ones that skitter along, turning and circling with no clear direction. So many things tug at her: the books stacked for reading, the list of research possibilities, the garden. Her to-do list fills her head; the ideas buzz there, near to bursting. She slugs down her handful of vitamins and minerals, an attempt to extend a meaningful life, and looks up at the multicolored India-ink drawing of Yama, the Lord of Death, hanging on the wall. His mouth opens wide, regurgitating the world, an endless wheel of compassion and suffering. Maggie stares at it, envious. Right now she wishes–almost, ‘wishes to hell’ but she won’t go that far, not with old Yama looking down on her–still, she wishes she could cough up the rumblings inside her, fling them out once and for all, a magnificent mouthful. The older she gets, the more urgent all this ‘doing’ becomes.  

(From my next book chronicling 17th century New Haven, fictionalizing a kernel from family history. But that’s another story.)

This quote expresses my feeling precisely–overwhelmed! Andrew Croy and Susannah Oswalt (3x great-grandparents) married by 1800. They were first cousins…yep, first cousins. Their fathers married daughters of Alexander Huston. Those fathers, Jacob Croy (see last post) and Jacob Oswalt, came to the part of Ohio now encompassing northeast Carroll County and southwest Stark County. This week I review Jacob Oswalt and Sarah Huston Oswalt and their thirteen children. Consequently, overwhelmed!

I delved into the land purchases in Carroll County in some depth because of my interest in the little town of Morges. The first evidence of Jacob Oswalt is when he registered for S12 T16 R7 on September 24, 1805. Using the Bureau of Land Management records, I discovered that, in 1810, Michael Oswalt (Jacob’s brother) purchased the SE ¼ of that section. The other quarters went to other purchasers. Jacob continued living in Stark/Carroll County, and in 1819 he purchased the NE ¼ of T16 R7 S17, what would one day contain a portion of Morges, Ohio.

By 1820 the Oswalt family was ubiquitous in Stark County. By 1830 the family still lived in Stark County but Jacob Sr. had moved with his son Jacob Jr. to Lexington Township, near Maximo. Jacob Jr. would live his life out there. Son Samuel acquired his father’s property in Rose Township.

Between 1830 and 1840, the Oswalt family dispersed. After his wife’s death, Jacob Sr. headed to Seneca where he purchased land in Big Springs Township and town lots in Springville, and then died in 1836. Back in Rose Township, Carroll County, Samuel worked with neighbor John Waggoner to establish little Morges. Family relations, including Croy, Simonton, Waggoner, and McClish all paid taxes on lots there (as an aside, in correction of an earlier error, Jacob Oswalt who paid Morges taxes was not the patriarch but a son of likely John, possibly Samuel.) But by 1838, most of the family had moved on and Andrew Croy and Samuel Oswalt were delinquent on taxes for their lots.

Was the death of Sarah Huston Oswalt in 1832 a catylst, unraveling family connections, or was it the natural realignment of family connections over time? Was it the lure of land farther west; the Panic of 1837 precipitated by the end of the National Bank and rampant land speculation? We can’t know. The timeline of documentation found below helps tell the story.

While I have all documentation for the narrative that follows, I did not source it here…too much…to long. One thing though, I’ve discovered my grasp of the comings and goings of the Oswalt family (thanks to a helpful cousin much removed) is pretty darn good! So I’m ready for Ohio if Ohio’s ready for me. Before I go, however, the family of Andrew and Susannah Oswalt Croy deserves one more look.

Timeline of Family of Jacob and Sarah Huston Oswalt
1805 Jacob Oswalt, a resident of Columbiana Ct, registers for S12 T16 R7, 24 Sept
1810   Jacob sells/releases ¼ of land to Michael Oswalt
1816-1825 Jacob, Stark County Tax Index
1816 Margaret marries Thomas Graden (Graton) in Stark Ct. on 10 Jan
1818 John marries Hannah Neill in Harrison Ct on 29 Jan
1818 Sarah marries Peter Waggener (Waggoner) in Stark Ct. on 25 Aug
1819 Jacob Sr buys NE1/4 of T16 R7 S17 (later Andrew Croy owns E1/2 SE1/4)
1820 CENSUS Jacob with 3 M and 5 F, John, Sarah wife of Peter Waggoner, Rebecca wife of David Huston census Rose, Stark Ohio; Susannah wife of Andrew Croy Brown, Stark Ct; Margaret wife of Thomas Graden, Ross, Jefferson Ct
1824 Elizabeth marries Thomas Simonton June 1
1825 Thomas Graden husband of Margaret, Tax Records for Ross Township, Jefferson Ct R3 T11 S14
1826-1838 Thomas Graden husband of Margaret, Tax Records (including distillery) for Springfield Township, Jefferson Ct R4 T11 S16
1826-1829 Jacob Sr., Samuel, John, Jacob Jr. Tax records for Land/Personal Prop, Rose Township, Stark Ct
1829 Mary (Polly) married Jacob Shoe in Stark Ct on 14 May
1829 Martha married Daniel Weimer in Stark Ct (Wymer) on 17 Sep
1830 CENSUS Jacob (1M and 1F), Jacob Jr., Lexington, Stark Ct; Joseph, Samuel, John, Susannah of Andrew Croy, Elizabeth of Thomas Simonton Rose Township, Stark Ct; David Huston husband of Rebecca Oswalt Census Brown, Stark Ct: Sarah of Peter Waggoner, Brown, Stark Ct;  Martha of Daniel Weimer Harrison, Stark Ct;  Margaret of Thomas Graden Clinton, Jefferson Ct
1832 Chancery Records Sarah Huston Oswalt, his wife died in Stark County 1832 Listed children in 1834 as John, Samuel of Carroll County, Margaret wife of Thomas Graton of Jefferson County, Martha wife of Daniel Wymer of Seneca Ct in Ohio Sarah wife of Peter Waggoner of Virginia and Joseph, Jacob Jr., Michael, Susanna wife of Andrew Croy on of the heirs of Mary Roberts deceased, Catharine Oswald, Elizabeth wife of Thomas Simonton, Mary wife of Jacob Shoe and Rebecca wife of said defendant David Huston son of Alexander Huston. (matches will)
1832 Jacob Jr. moves to Maximo (Lexington, Stark County, OH
1833-1838 Sons in Morges, Rose Township, Carroll Ct (Jacob’s land now in Samuel’s name)
1833 Michael marries Salome(a) Hergar (Hagar) 24 Jan
1836 Jacob Oswalt will Sept 1836 Seneca County 2 40 acre lots in Big Springs township and town lot in Springville: given to 8 daughters in equal portion. Michael, John, Samuel, Jacob Jr, and Joseph each one dollar. 29 August 1836
1840 CENSUS  Jacob Jr Washington Township, Stark Ct; Rebecca of David Huston Brown, Carroll Ct.; Samuel by sister Margaret wife of Thomas Graden in Jefferson Ct(? Thomas remarried by 1841); Elizabeth wife of Thomas Simonton in Tuscarawas Ct; Mary wife of Jacob Shoe Perry, Wood Ct; Sarah wife of Peter Waggoner Perry Wood Ct; Susannah of Andrew Croy White Eyes, Coshocton Ct; Sarah wife of Peter Waggoner Lewis Ct, Virginia
1850 CENSUS Martha wife of Daniel Weimer (Wymer) Jay, Noble, Indiana (note: child born in Indiana 1845); Jacob Jr Washington Township, Stark Ct; Sarah Oswalt Waggoner Perry, Allen Ct; Rebecca of David Huston, Harrison Ct; Susannah of Andrew Croy, White Eyes, Coshocton Ct;  Michael, Mahaska, Iowa (child born in Iowa in 1846); John, Keokuk, Iowa (child born in Iowa in 1841); Joseph, Wells, Indiana (child born in Indiana 1846)
1853 Joseph, Knottingham, Wells Ct Indiana
1854   Rebecca of Peter Waggoner Land Grant Richland Ct. Wisconsin
1856 John, Iowa census
1860 CENSUS Joseph Knottingham, Wells Ct Indiana; Jacob Jr Washington Township, Stark Ct; Mary of Jacob Shoe Hopewell, Seneca, OH; Martha of Daniel Weimer Lancaster, Keokuk, Iowa;  Michael, of Pleasant Gap, Bates, Missouri (child born in Missouri 1858)
1864   Susannah dies in Carroll Ct (returned from Coshocton after 1850) 26 Oct
1870 CENSUS   Jacob Jr Washington Township, Stark Ct;  Joseph, Wells Ct, Indiana; Michael, Keokuk Ct, Iowa;  Sarah with Peter Wagner (Wagonner) Rockbridge, Richland, Wisconsin
1873 Joseph dies in Wells County, Indiana Aug 11
1876 Michael dies Reed Cemetery, Keokuk County, Iowa 28 Jan
1880  CENSUS  Jacob Jr Washington Township, Stark Ct Maximo PO
1887   Jacob (Jr. 3rd) died, buried Beechwood, Stark County, OH
Catherine, no record except inferred in 1830 census; Elizabeth, no record after 1840; Samuel, no definitive record after 1840; Mary, no record after 1840; Margaret died by 1841 based on new marriage of Thomas Graden; Rebecca, no record after 1855; John, no record after 1856; Martha, no record after 1860; Sarah, no record after 1870 (1880 Peter widowed)

Probate Records: Why Historians, Genealogists, and Writers Should Love Them

Mary Moore Croy never remarried after David Croy's death in 1878 at 35. The inventory gives insight into her life and interests.

Mary Moore Croy never remarried after David Croy’s death in 1878 at 35. The inventory gives insight into her life and interests.

How excited can one genealogy/history/historical fiction writer get…over probate records?

  • Historically, you discover what ordinary people valued and find hints regarding social hierarchies.
  • Genealogically, the records can provide answers to specific genealogical questions, from the names and relationships of heirs to the actual death date of the deceased, not to mention unveiling the personalities of those involved.
  • For writers, these records paint a picture, through the details found there, of the life they lived.

I didn’t have time to delve any new records on-line. I was busy with the “final” edits of my book of historical fiction based on my Pennsylvania family history and starting a new one on my New Haven roots. So I tried to ignore the big event, Ancestry’s grand reveal of a host of new will and probate records. I tried. I couldn’t do it, and I am so glad I gave in and took a peak!

With a special shout out to the distant cousins, and anyone else out there who follows my blog-search these records! Unfortunately, if you didn’t log on during the Labor Day weekend, Ancestry’s freebie “come-on” has passed. But the information is worth gold (well, come on, I’m a history nerd).

One caveat, the records are NOT complete, so don’t forget to contact individual courthouses and libraries. For example, of all 88 of the Ohio Counties, only eight are included.

I recommend going directly to the new information on the Ancestry site. Here’s how:

  1. After logging on to Ancestry, make sure you are on their home page.
  2. At the top you will see “New and Exclusive U.S. Wills and Probate Records.” Click “Search Now”
  3. There you may begin your search, get a quick introduction, or view a research guide. Note: you must view all this on their new site. They are encouraging those who use Ancestry to break away from the old version of their search site.
  4. Now put in the name you are interested in researching. I used surname only so I could browse with my family sheets in mind.

What did I find so far? (I say so far because it will take some time to ferret out all the wonders hiding in these records.)

  1. Probate records for Alexander Huston, Montgomery County (father of Mary Huston Croy Roberts…the heroine in my book of historical fiction), including wonderful tidbits like the fact that he owned a Rhone, Sorrel, and Bay mare and colts. Also, his wife, Mary Ann, purchase 8 yds Muslin for $5, 1 and ¾ gallons whiskey for $1.32, and 1 lb coffee for $.50. The purchases of other family members are also recorded.[i]
  2. The will of Jacob Oswalt II who married Sarah Huston. (Parents of Susannah Oswalt who married Andrew Croy, my 3x great-grandfather.) Recorded in Seneca County, where he finally ended up, it includes this comment “Michael Oswalts, John Oswalts, Samuel Oswalts, Jacob Oswalts and Joseph Oswalts…each one Dollar to be paid out of my money that Jacob Shoe Jr has in his possession…” His daughters split the proceeds from the “two forty acre lots lying in Big Spring Township, and one town lot lying in the town of Springville, Seneca County, Ohio…” (I also found the records of Jacob Oswalt’s father, his stepbrother, and his son.)[ii]
  3. The names of two of Edward Huston’s children. (A son of Alexander)[iii]
  4. The will of Mat(t)hias Croy (likely brother of Jacob Croy, husband of Mary Huston, out of Londonderry Township, Bedford PA) which included the married names of his daughters.[iv]
  5. The probate record of John Croy (again, the likely brother of Jacob Croy) where, on one of many pages, I found this: “…money on hand at the decease of John Croy on the 2nd of August 1824” (and the records of a number of his children).[v]

And then, when I didn’t think it could get any better, this e-mail arrived: “I have copied the handwritten recording of the will of Alexander Houston.  I have also copied the Chancery Record of John Huston v. Henry McGrath (40 pages).  For these copies and postage, please send $10.05” So, never let Ancestry or any on-line source be the only place you research. If you aren’t lucky enough to live where you’re researching, a letter (snail or e-version) and a stamp do wonders.

Media credit:Probate Records of Mary Moore Croy, wife of David Croy: 1 December 1899. Washington County Probate Court, 205 Putnam St., Marietta, OH. Microfilm Copies: acquired 13 August 2015.

[i] Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line, accessed 9 September 2015] Montgomery County, Ohio, Case # 139, Ca. 1810-1887; Probate Place: Montgomery, Ohio.

[ii] Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line, accessed 9 September 2015] Probate Records, 1828-1954; Probate Place: Seneca, Ohio; Probate Date: 26 September 1836.

[iii] Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line, accessed 9 September 2015] Montgomery County, Ohio, Case # 3234, Ca. 1841-1861; Probate Place: Montgomery, Ohio.

[iv] Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line, accessed 9 September 2015] Will Records, 1804-1919; General Index to Estates, 1801-1935: Ohio. Probate Court (Belmont County); Probate Date: 9 October 1837.

[v] Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line, accessed 9 September 2015] Montgomery County, Ohio, Estate Files #597-666, # 659, Ca. 1810-1887; Probate Place: Montgomery, Ohio.

“…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 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,

The Croys, Oswalts, and Hustons

BedfordCo1872-townships copyWestern Pennsylvania became the primary destination of new immigrants and those with wanderlust in their veins. In order to better understand our family migration, its timeline as well as the approximate birth date of family members, I put a spreadsheet together of all land warrant, tax records, and Revolutionary War records for these three much intermingled families. Bedford PA spreadsheet They include Andrew Huston, Alexander Huston and Mary Johnson, Jacob Oswalt and Rebecca Huston, Jacob Oswalt Jr. and Sarah Huston, and Jacob Croy and Mary Huston. Western PA. Family Sheets a pdf document One thing is sure. The majority of their lives in the last half of the 1700’s was spent in Londonderry Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania along Wills Creek not far from the Mason-Dixon line. I am indebted to Larry Smith whose excellent website  Mother Bedford – The Pennsylvania Frontier Of The 1700s. provided many insights and some missing information. I recommend it highly.