New Genealogy Stuff Waits for You

Dr. A. Bruce Pruitt, Washington County Land Entries, 1802-1805, 1824-1875, 1879-1904. 2007. Dr. Pruitt never puts his address on his books. Ugh! (Dr. A.B. Pruitt, Box 815, Whitakers NC 27891)

And he’s now working on Tennessee counties. Since I do a lot of professional research in Washington County TN, this new book is of great interest to me. And I wasn’t disappointed when I check the index for names I need. And I was surprised by names that did not show up at all.  No Burger although Burgner appeared, no Kilday, no Jack.  Crumley was there (a surprise).  Howard was there–Ira, Jacob, and Joseph. And 15 Shipley men, several with multiple entries–and given name I have not encountered before.  That’s all the names I had time for that day; I’ll have to create a master list and check them all next trip to the Library.

You see, the eastern part of Tennessee grows in population so rapidly and the jurisdictions change so frequently, and the people who initially settle there move on so quickly–following them is a challenge.

Here is a rule of thumb that works well–East Tennessee moving on to Middle Tennessee moving west into TX, MO, IL, and IN. Later, there may be stops in West Tennessee. After the Indian treaties clear the way for settlement, your ancestors will move through Middle TN directly into the fertile and much sought for Tennessee River Valley as it turns north into Kentucky.

These new county land entry extracts from Dr. Pruitt will identify the first members of your family, and perhaps others of the same surname. And circumstantially, you can focus on those who come into Tennessee where your own ancestor is reported to be born until you eliminate or prove them to your pedigree. Keep ’em comin’!

Charles D. Thompson, Jr. The Old German Baptist Brethren:  Faith, Farming, and Change in the Virginia Blue Ridge.  Urbana IL:  University of Illinois Press, 2006.   This is a wonderful new view of a group not widely studied or publicized in the settlement of Appalachia.  And Since the Eakle family members were Brethren of this group, my eyes stopped on this title on the new book shelf at the Family History Library last week.  And I could hardly wait to tell you about it.

They offered no resistance to assaults against them as they made their way down the narrow trading path to Virginia.  If under attack by displace Iroquois or by outlaw highwaymen, they prayed that God’s will be done and turned the other cheek.  Some died in the process.  Dressed in conservative black clothing, German Brethren traveled at first with Moravians venturing southward from Pennsylvania in search of places to settle in Virginia and North Carolina.  On this journey, by way of the Carolina Road, they were among the first Europeans to pass through the southern Blue Ridge Mountains to present-day Franklin County VA, where they created temporary settlements as early as the late 1730’s.  In 1765, Jacob Miller established the first permanent German Brethren settlement in the county.

For decades, the Brethren remained separate from other Europeans in the area, living in enclaves reflecting their earlier life in Germany or Pennsylvania.  They built bank barns and log houses and made cabinets and furniture, pottery, clothing, and crafts, all with a Germanic flair.

For generations, they spoke German or it Pennsylvania Dutch variant.  They maintained a strong commitment to simplicity, nonviolence, and nonconformity to the world.  They intentionally separated from state-supported churches, the courts, and politics, and did not swear oaths.  For these reasons, relatively isolated places suited them, especially where the soil was good.

Yup!  This describes my Eakles to a tee, it really does.  Actually they are my husband’s Eakles and I have adopted them for my own as I have researched them for so long.  And we still don’t have an actual, proven, origin for Johann Hermon Ekell.  I learned a while back that Ekel(l) is a Norwegian patronymic.  And he wrote and spoke German when he came to America in 1740 on the same ship with his future father-in-law, Christian Orndorff.  We know where the Orndorffs originate in Hesse Nassau.

This important, to me, book suggests Wittgenstein origins.  I tried to identify Harmon Eakle in Wittgenstein some years ago on a tip from Dr. Donald J. Martin.  No luck.  But these are new times with no resources and I think I’ll got back and check again.  Your favorite genealogist of choice, Arlene Eakle

PS  Stay tuned in–I have lots more new and exciting stuff to share with you and beginning October 9, 2007, we will be live from the genealogy fields of America as we drive cross country doing research as we go.

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