Monday, November 1, 2010

Mystery Monday - Amos DeHart, Myerstown, PA

Mystery Monday - Amos DeHart, my gr-gr-grandfather

Some Background

Amos DeHart was my gr-gr-grandfather, residing in and buried in Myerstown, Lebanon County, PA. He married Lovina Schmidt Dieffenbach and they were the parents of two sons, Samuel J. DeHart and my gr-grandfather, Thomas Henry DeHart, known as Henry.

Amos was born 20 November 1814 in Pennsylvania, and died 10 March 1883 in Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. He is buried (along with his widow Lovina, and son Samuel and Samuel's second wife, Emma) in Old Union Cemetery, Myerstown, PA.

My first record of Amos is when he appears in the 1850 Federal Census for Myerstown, Lebanon County, PA, as a "30" year old Laborer. Value of Real Estate owned - $1,000. In the same household is Caroline DeHart, aged 17, no relationship status given. At the same address, but enumerated as a separate household are Nicholas Noll, a 38 year old Laborer, his wife and their 4 children (ages 2, 3, 5, and 11).

By the 1860 Fed Census, Caroline DeHart has disappeared (married?, died? moved elsewhere?) and Amos is now married to Lovina. Samuel is 7 years old, Thomas Henry is 5. They no longer share the same enumerated property with another family. Amos is a Farm Laborer, Real Estate Value $1,600 and Personal Property Valued at $75.

In the 1870 Fed Census, Amos is listed as a Carpet Weaver, Lovina as "Keeping House" and 18 year old Samuel is an "Apprentice to Carpenter". Henry DeHart is 16 years old. Amos's Real Estate is valued at $1500 and his Personal Property is valued at $200. There are 2 other families also enumerated at this property: Henry Fox "Works In Stone Quarry", Personal Property Valued at $100, his wife and 3 children; and Thomas Achey, a 72 year old farm worker, personal property value $200 and 36 year old Harriet Achey, a dress maker.

By the 1880 Federal Census, the family is again enumerated as a sole household in the property: Amos, a carpet weaver; Lovina, his wife "Keeping House"; son Samuel "Laborer" and now Samuel's wife, Emma noted as "daughter-in-law" and "Boarder". (Samuel was married twice first to one Emma, who died and then to a second Emma). Henry has married and is living elsewhere.

Amos DeHart's wife was the former Lovina Dieffenbach, daughter of David Kastnitz Dieffenbach. Lovina's Dieffenbach family contained 3 generations of pipe organ builders and her brother Thomas was the fourth generation to carry on the well known and respected family business. Who was Amos that he could marry into such an old and established family?

The Mystery

My head banging mystery is who were Amos's parents? Where was he prior to 1850? Who was Caroline DeHart? (first wife, sister, cousin, ?)? He didn't just spring as a 30 year old man out of the Swatara Creek like Venus on her clamshell. What was his background? There are Amos DeHarts in Berks County, including one contemporary in Lower Alsace Township who is very close in age to my Amos. Were they cousins?  Carpet weaving and farming are common occupations of DeHarts in Eastern Berks County PA. Usually DeHarts in Berks engaged in Farming plus a second occupation. Lebanon County, where I find my Amos DeHart is the county just west of Berks. Myerstown is just over the county line. In all census records, my Amos claims to have been born in Pennsylvania.

Later generations of my Amos have crossed and recrossed the Berks/Lebanon County line.

I found a news article from 1955 that discussses an 1832-33 school year records book that belong to a school teacher who taught in Western Berks County. One of the names mentioned in the book is Amos DeHart. Is this MY Amos or a different one?

Any help, guidance or shining lights would be much appreciated.  Please help me crack this brick wall.

No comments:

Post a Comment