Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bedford County, PA Quarter Sessions Docket 6

Docket 6 is finally complete!  This transcription covers the years from 1838 - 1850.  It gives an interesting look into some of the daily lives of those living in Bedford county during this time period.  Some of the most useful pieces include the Bastardy cases, genealogically speaking.  I researched some of them myself and a number it seems married soon after.  Others did not.  And in some cases the man in question was already married!

I myself found several court records involving my ancestor Philip Clingerman.  He was part of a mob (one of the ring leaders I suspect) who helped tar and feather a man in the middle of the night because he was a Mormon preacher and had converted several families in the area.  Possibly including his wife's sister and her family.

This book is now available for sale here, and will be up on Amazon, hopefully by the end of the week.  Any recommendations or notes are welcome as I am hoping to start Docket 5 soon :)

EDIT:  Now available on Amazon!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Philip Clingerman

The more I learn about my ancestor Philip Clingerman, the more I don't know what to make of him.  Originally, the only thing I had to go on regarding his life was a small mention in a history book of Bedford County, PA, his will, and his father's will.

It has been in my attempts to find out who his wife Susanna's family was, that I've begun to uncover a multitude of new things about Philip.  More specifically, his criminal record.

Philip was born in 1800 in Providence Township, Bedford County, PA.  To my knowledge, he had no run-ins with the law prior to 1838-1839.  Quite a feat considering his record after!

Let's start with the first record I have.  His arrest in January 1839 for taking part in (and probably leading) a riot that grabbed a man out of his bed in the middle of the night in December 1838, before they tarred and feathered him.  The logical question is, why would someone do this?  The answer, as it has been throughout most of human history came down to one thing it appears.  Religion.  The man they tarred and feathered, a mister Albert Brown, was a Mormon missionary it would seem.  A number of people had been converted in the area, and this was most likely the spark behind this incident.  I only qualify it as "most likely" because the records themselves do not indicate a reason.  He was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution, but otherwise appears to have gotten off scot-free.

I do wonder, given Philip's views on the subject of religion by this arrest, what he thought about my line.  Philip was Lutheran.  His daughter, Elizabeth, married Adam Shuss, who was part of the Church of the Brethren.  Adam and Elizabeth's son Nelson, married Clara Gill, who was Catholic, and our family has been Catholic ever since.

Philip then shows up again in November 1843.  This time for Larceny charges "on oath of Styles Hill".  A Mary and Peter Koontz testified against him, and a Daniel McDaniel paid Philip's bail.  It is worth noting that Philip's mother was a woman named Mary Koontz, so this Peter Koontz was a relative.  Mary could also be a relative, or Peter's wife more likely.  Another thing worth noting, Philip's daughter Mary Clingerman would eventually marry a John Nelson McDaniel, a likely relative of Daniel.  This one is however, a bit unusual, because in the initial arrest record, he is listed as "Philip Clingerman" but then at the proceedings, they instead say "Peter Clingerman".  Philip did have a brother Peter, so it appears that for some reason one of them was mistaken for the other.  Whether Philip or Peter was the true one up on charges is unknown to me at the moment.  Whoever it was, he was found not guilty.

Lest we get complacent, Philip *again* shows up in September 1851.  This time, he was one of four people arrested for "Forcible Entry and Detainer" against a Rebecca Baughman.  They were reported to have taken her and her belongings and thrown them out of her home and into the street.  My only presumption is that one of these people owned the home, and she had not paid the rent.  Keep in mind, this is only my assumption in the matter.  They were found not guilty.

First, I admit, my father liked this one.  In September 1870, Philip this time brings his son Lewis in on the crimes.  They are arrested for "unlawfully selling liquors on Sundays to minors and others without license to the great annoyance of the community".  This time, the case was settled, and it appears they paid a fine.  What's interesting about this is that the woman at the historical library in Bedford even told me (before I told her) that the Clingerman's were "moonshiners" but she was unaware of this particular arrest record.  So, whether there are still Clingerman's in the area 130 years later, still making alcohol, or whether this story was simply passed down, I'm not sure.  It is interesting nonetheless!

And thus ends Philip's illustrious life of crime.  He lived out his life, dying in 1881.  His wife, Susanna, preceded him in death in 1861.  Admittedly, between the two of them, she's really the one I'd like to talk to, and know her feelings on the subject of Philip!

Bedford County Quarter Session Dockets

So, I decided to undertake a new project: my first transcriptions.  I'm currently working through 1843.  It's an interesting insight into the daily issues in Bedford county, PA.

Along with the Assault and Battery cases, and Cutting Timber Illegally, a number of the cases are for Bastardy and Fornication, which of course could prove quite valuable to many people who have hit a brick wall for one reason or another.

My curiosity has led me to research several of these incidents.  In one case, I found that the couple in question later got married, had more children, and now their descendants have a marriage date listed in their family trees a good two years before they actually were, simply because they don't know the whole story and just presumed their first child was born following marriage.  In another cases, the man in question was already married, and within a maximum of 5 years from the verdict, he and his family moved to another state.  I have to wonder if it was at his wife's insistence?  In this case, the man's descendants from his marriage don't seem to know about this other child.  And I haven't been able to prove one way or another that the child lived (at this point).  Although I do believe there's a good chance he/she did, and was simply listed under a step-father's surname.

Here's an example of one,

The Commonwealth
Hugh Moore
Fornication and Bastardy – on oath of Mary Stiffler.  November 28, 1842, Anthony Stiffler tent in $100 conditioned on the appearance of Mary Stiffler at next sessions to prosecute and give evidence.  November 29, 1842 defendant tent in $600 and Joseph Mortimore surety tent in $600 conditioned for the appearance of said defendant at next sessions to answer to a Bill of Indictment to be preferred against him for fornication and bastardy and not depart the court without license.  Taken and acknowledged in open court.  Joseph B. Noble Clerk.

In this particular case, and from online sources, it appears Mary Stiffler and Hugh Moore eventually reconciled, married, and had many more children following their first here.