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Christian Daywalt

Replies: 7

Re: Christian Daywalt

Posted: 8 Nov 2009 5:37PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Dewalt, Daywalt, Devault, Devell, Devile, Cutshall, Bohrer, Wachtel
Hi Rich

I'm interested in Christian (Dewalt 1840, 1850 Quincy, Franklin and later Huntington Co censuses) because I'm researching Dewalt in Franklin County PA.

My gg grandfather Adam Dewalt (1813-1905) married Sarah Brown (1818-1885)in 1840 in Greencastle. They moved to Ohio about 1845. Their marriage is noted in the records of Greencastle Evangelical Lutheran church. A transcribed copy is available at the Franklin Co Hist. Soc. in Chambersburg. I don't think it is available online. I looked at it when I visited Franklin county this past April (2009).

Unfortunately, Christian is not named in these records, but 3 other Dewalts are (spelled variously Dewalt, Dewald and Daweldt): William Dewald and wife Sophia at the christening of their daughter Susanna, born Feb 19, 1813; Michael Dewalt and his wife Rosina in 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1821; and another Michael Dewalt with his wife Elizabeth in the 1830s. Finally, Adam Dewalt's 1840 marriage is listed.

I'm hypothesizing that all of these men were related but I have no direct evidence of their specific family relationships-- nothing "magical" that would sort out all the ambiguities, a detailed obituary, for instance, or a complex genealogy chart tucked away in someone's family bible.

Nonetheless, all of these men (except Adam) correspond well to men in the Franklin Co. censuses from 1800 to 1880.

Michael-- let's call him "sr"-- appears in 1800 and 1810 in Washington Twp. His surname is spelled Dewauld in 1800 and Dewalt or Dewatt in 1810, depending on how you interpret dubious handwriting. In any case, I don't take spelling that seriously, especially in early days. Judging from names that surround him in the censuses, this man lived pretty near where Christian turned up in 1840 and 1850. If memory serves, Quincy Twp was formed from the northern half Washington in 1834. I don't think Christian's appearance there was coincidental. I do think he was related-- in some as yet unknown way-- to the other Dewalt men I've listed above.

Michael Dewalt "sr" was almost certainly a veteran of the American revolution, whose pension file is available online at Ancestry (or just try googling Michael Dewalt American Revolution-- file should come up pretty fast). According to this file, Michael was in Franklin Co. VIRGINIA between 1826 and 1835 and probably also in 1820. There was/is a community of German Baptists (Dunkers) in Franklin, Virginia. Genealogists have found family links between this group and Dunker communities in Franklin Co PA, north of Waynesboro. A spin-off sect, the Seventh Day Baptists, was based at the Snow Hill cloister in Quincy, Franklin PA until the 1850s at least, and there were also mainline Dunkers all across southern Franklin Co.

If I were you, I'd go over the pension file with a fine-toothed comb. Since your Sarah Gray, according to some censuses, was born in Virginia, I'd look closely at Franklin and possibly adjoining Floyd county, Virginia. I'd consider all possible variants, including Gro, Crow(e), etc.

At present, I'm looking at Dewalt and all variant spellings in Washington Co MD, especially the Hagerstown, Conococheague and Clear Spring Districts. I've found some intriguing things by searching unusual variants. See Michael Devile, 1790 census, Elisabeth (later, Hagerstown)MD, also Michael Devell, 1783 tax assessment for Elisabeth district, and Whelholm Divill, 1820, District 3, Washington Co MD. I've looked at scanned images of the Revolutionary war muster rolls for Michael "Dewalt" (online at footnote.com-- costs money) and the name is consistently spelled "Devault." It was in 1819 and 1820, when Michael was applying for pension at Chambersburg, that clerks spelled it "Dewalt" (and "Dawalt"), hence its appearance as such in the pension file you will find online. He signed the 1819 and 1820 pension application letters with his mark-- X.

Returning to the Greencastle Lutheran Dewalts and their "map-over" onto the census:

Michael Dewalt "jr" and William Dewalt are found near one another in the 1830 Antrim (Greencastle's township), Franklin PA census. In 1830, according to the pension file, Michael "sr" was living in Virginia. Michael "jr" is in Antrim again in 1840. I can't find William anywhere after 1830, and I can't find Michael "jr" in 1850. However, Michael Dewalt (jr) and wife Elisabeth are found in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, a little west of Greencastle in Montgomery Twp, Franklin PA. I assume these are the same people who appeared in the Greencastle Lutheran records in the 1830s.

In the 1860 census, they are very near Henry Dewalt and Jonathan Dewalt, whose ages indicate they may be Michael's sons, or perhaps nephews, or perhaps a son and a nephew (assuming, of course, that Michael "jr" and William were brothers).

Henry and Jonathan Dewalt/Dewald's generation isn't that hard to track through the censuses, so I'll leave you with things I found in person in Chambersburg that aren't (readily) available online.

At the clerk of courts office, Franklin Co. courthouse: Bk 1, Franklin County Register of Deaths (a huge bound ledger), no. 566, Jonathan Deywalt, d. Jan 23, 1894, b. "near Greencastle Pa." Jonathan's surname is spelled "Dewalt" in the ledger index but "Deywalt" in the actual entry-- a good reminder of the relative unimportance of spelling!

In the card catalogue at the Franklin Co Hist. Soc., a marriage notice that appeared June 19, 1852 in the Valley Spirit newspaper: "Jonathan Dewald and Mary Cutshall, married in Greencastle, Pa by Rev. Colestock"

Also in the card catalogue, a notice of an apparent double marriage that appeared Sept 11, 1861 in the Valley Spirit:

"On the 31st inst. at Montgomery Hotel, in this place by Rev. W. Harden: J.L. Dewald of Fran. Co. Pa to Miss Sue Wachtel of Wash. Co. Md"

Same wording as above: "Samuel J. Bohrer to Miss Jennie Dewald, all of Franklin Co."

I notice you've posted tombstone photos for Beher (or was it Behrer, I can't recall). I can't say for sure that your Christian Daywalt is connected to the family group I'm hypothesizing, but I think there's a good chance he is, and I'm continuing my research with that possibility in mind (whatever that's worth).

Finally, I've had a fair amount of success making hypothetical links by comparing census information-- especially from 1860, 1870 and 1880-- with info on historical land ownership atlases for Franklin Co PA and Washington Co. MD. These were published in 1868 and 1877 respectively, and are available online at historicmapworks.com (for a small fee-- $10 or so) and perhaps elsewhere.

To give you an example: When I first found the marriage notices in Chambersburg last spring, I couldn't place them with much confidence with other Dewalt info I had. They were disconnected fragments. I was pretty sure the Jonathan who married Mary Cutshall was the same Jonathan who appears after 1850 on the Montgomery, Franklin censuses. There are Cutshall/Cutchal families near him on these censuses.

Jennie Dewald and Samuel Bohrer were more difficult. Things became clearer when I checked their surnames against names appearing on the 1868 atlas in Montgomery Twp, south of Claylick. Although there are no Dewalt land holdings marked on the map, property for Wm Cutshall and W Cutshaw is indicated south of CLaylick. A little to the west of them, in Blairs Valley, J. Bohrer is indicated. The atlas made very concrete something we know about the census. It reflects geographical reality. Census "neighbors" were real neighbors and, before automobiles (and even now), neighbors were often family.

I could go on in a hypothetical vein, but I'll sum up by saying I've found "Dewalt" in Franklin County a tough nut to crack. There are people who live there today who may or not be related to my Adam Dewalt and your Christian Daywalt. They live in South Mountain and spell their name Daywalt.

Of the people I've mentioned above, Jonathan Dewalt (or Dewald or Deywalt) died apparently without male issue. According to subscriber-submitted posts at Ancestry, Henry Dewald (and his son J.L Dewald) moved to Ogle Co. Illinois some time after the mid 1860s, then continued west to Nebraska. Christian, as you know, moved up to Huntington between 1850 and 1860. And my Adam Dewalt moved west after 1845 to Muskingum Co. Ohio (1850 census) and finally Crawford Co. OH (1860 census onward). Adam, in fact, appears in no Franklin Co. census. If it weren't for the Greencastle Lutheran records (and some other info not easily availble online) it would be impossible to place him in Franklin Co. at all.

It is possible, but I think highly unlikely, that Adam, Christian, Henry and Jonathan were not related at all. No no matter where they and their families ended up west of Franklin Co., they all trace back to a pretty small area. Imagine an inverted triangle with its apex at Hagerstown MD and its base running more or less along Rte 16 (the Buchanon Hwy) from a little west of Mercersburg to a little east of Waynesboro. You'll find "Dewalt," "Daywalt" and a number of other spelling variants in a variety of online and offline records in places inside and just outside of this triangle.

I think there are more records to be found and that they can be fitted together to form a reasonably accurate picture (a matter of probability, not certainty) of how these Dewalt/Daywalt families are related (or not) across the years. I hope I haven't burdened you with too much extraneous detail, but I've definitely found that there's no such thing as too much information in this pursuit.

Hope to hear from you soon and compare notes.

Yours truly,
Robert Dewalt
Toronto, Canada
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
richdaywalt 17 Feb 2009 8:13PM GMT 
radewalt 9 Nov 2009 12:37AM GMT 
richdaywalt 20 Nov 2009 2:33AM GMT 
radewalt 15 Nov 2009 4:45AM GMT 
jad65 30 Mar 2010 5:27PM GMT 
richdaywalt 31 Mar 2010 2:43AM GMT 
jad65 31 Mar 2010 2:36PM GMT 
jad65 3 May 2010 7:04PM GMT 
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