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Sketch of Minerd Family -
Historical and Traditional - Version 2

By Allen E. Harbaugh, Mill Run, Pa.
Edited and annotated 2003 by Mark A. Miner

 

EDITOR'S NOTE -- this history is the second known version prepared in the summer of 1913 by Allen E. Harbaugh (seen here), the famed "Mountain-Poet" of Mill Run, Fayette County, PA. Harbaugh authored both versions of his history for the first-ever reunion of the Minerd family in Western Pennsylvania, held Aug. 21, 1913 at Ferncliff Park, Ohiopyle, Fayette County.

Without this work of authorship, we would have very little knowledge of our pioneer and Revolutionary War ancestors, Jacob and Maria (Nein) Minerd Sr., and the connections between their many children and grandchildren. For some reason, Harbaugh chose only to discuss three of the pioneers’ 12 children – Jacob Minerd Jr., Frederick Miner Sr. and Martha (Minerd) Imel-Harbaugh. A fourth child, Henry Minerd, was omitted entirely, even though some of his offspring were well known to Harbaugh himself.

Harbaugh’s first version was authored on Aug. 8, 1913, 13 days prior to the event, and apparently was a first draft.  (We republished it for our 1993 reunion.)  It is about one-third shorter than this second version, which likely was updated shortly after the reunion with newfound data. Only two copies of the first version are known to exist, and only one copy of the second has been found.  The second version was re-discovered in 2002 by a cousin in New York.

Immigration from eastern Pennsylvania and the state of Maryland set into Somerset and Fayette Counties as early as the year 1790.

Among the frontiersmen, came Jacob Minerd [i], of German ancestry, (probably born in the old country) and a resident of Maryland, who, it is believed, was the earliest and only Minerd of whom any account can be given. Any attempt to glean and write a clear and accurate genealogy or chronology of pioneer families is futile, from two causes. First, illiteracy, or want of care; second, burning of cabins and destroying of records, if any were made.

The next earliest Minerd of whom we have any account, was Jacob [Jr.], who, in the year 1796, found a rude pickaxe, stone pots, hatchets, and other implements in a cave in the mountainside above our modern Egypt.[ii] If this Jacob was a son of Jacob, his age at that date was sixteen years, the year of his birth being 1780.

Our historical Jacob Minerd [Jr.] was a resident of Upper Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset Co., Pa. He was a farmer, a Whig politically, and a member of the church called “Disciples of Christ.”  The exact date of his marriage is not known but it was either in the year 1802 or 1803 that he married Catharine Younkin, a native of Somerset Co., Pa., and a member of the same church. Nine children were born: seven sons and two daughters, Namely:--

Nearly all have resided in Fayette Co. All nine have been married:

  • John, (first wife) Sarah Ansell, (second) Hannah Ansell.

  • Burket

  • Henry, Polly Younkin.

  • Lorah, John Younkin.

  • Jacob, Rachael Ansell.

  • Charles, Adeline Harbaugh 

  • Catharine, Harrison Barnhouse

  • Joel, (first wife) Margaret J. Leichliter, (second) Catharine Seneff

  • Eli, Mary Ann Baer.

The number of children born to the nine is not fully ascertained. [Note - in the first draft, Harbaugh wrote here that "The number of children born to the nine descendants is a task for the living generation to enumerate."] The grandchildren and their descendants are numerous; all nice, worthy, well-doing and prosperous; some fought for their country; others are merchants, ministers, officers, teachers, etc., none of intemperate habits, but have shining Christian virtues. [Note - Harbaugh's first draft said here that some offspring had been "elected by unanimous choice of three parties."]

Father Jacob Minerd [Jr.], at 62 years, when cutting timber, was crushed by a falling tree, dying Nov. 11, 1842. Mother Catharine Minerd died of stomach trouble Aug. 12, 1847, aged 60 years, less one day; the date of whose birth was Aug. 13, 1787.

The dates of death of their nine children are not fully ascertained. The last living one child died Aug. 11, 1913. [Note - Harbaugh's first draft said here that "At this writing, Aug. 8th, 1913 Joel is the surviving member of Jacob and Catharine's family." Sadly, Joel died just a few days later, prior to the actual reunion.]

John died about the year 1880, aged about 76 years. Burket, Henry and Lorah, dates not known by the writer. Jacob died Oct. 31, 1907, aged 91 years, 8 months, and three days. Charles died Aug. 15, 1898, aged 79 years, 5 months, 15 days. Catharine died -------. Joel died Aug. 11, 1913, aged 86 years, 5 months, 14 days. Eli died Mar. 10, 1911.

John Minerd’s family, born of Sarah, were seven:-

Burket, Henry and Lorah’s families unascertained.

Jacob Minerd [III] had an only child, Elizabeth, born Dec. 3, 1838.

Charles Minerd was father of nine children, namely:-

[Note – in Harbaugh’s first draft, he wrote: "Charles died Aug. 16th, 1898, aged 79 years, 5 months and 15 days. Cause: Rheumatism. Buried at Maple Summit, Pa. His marriage to Adeline Harbaugh was Sept. 9th, 1847, to which union nine children were born.” He also said that youngest daughter Sarah was “wife of Prof. Joseph M. Luckey. Martha Emma Gorsuch is postmistress at Nicolay, Pa.  Sabina and Grant died young, some others died adult age, but all arriving at years of discretion joined the Church of God.”]

To Harrison and Catherine Barnhouse were born:-

Catherine Barnhouse died July 28, 1876.

Joel Minerd married Catharine Seneff Sept. 15, 1861, were parents of five children, namely:-

  • William Henry, born July 15, 1862. Married Sarah Basinger.

  • David R., born Nov. 15, 1864. Died young.

  • Elizabeth, born July 15, 1867. Married Peter Zadowsky.

  • John Wesley, born July 24, 1870. Married Emma Landis.

  • Eleanor, born May 29, 1874. Married Ebenezer B. Polen.

Catharine Seneff Minerd was born Nov. 24, 1836.

To Eli and Mary Ann were born seven children, namely:

Eli Minerd died Mar. 10, 1911. [Note - this sentence was added in pencil afterward by Eli's grandson, Dr. Roy S. Minerd, who was Reunion Secretary.]

Of prominent members of the three families, we mention Mrs. Esther Freed, daughter of Catharine Barnhouse, W. Henry Minerd, Justice of the Peace, and son of Joel, and Rev. Isaac H. Minerd, son of Eli.

Marriages, deaths, and miscellaneous matters pertaining to each particular member of families and their descendants, although much is on record, and other available, we forbear giving owning to lack of space; as we will take up for your interest and pleasure the recital of another branch of the Jacob Minerd family.

Plutarch, an ancient writer, says: "It is a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors."

 

Postcard sent to Harbaugh a week after the reunion by Roy Minerd. It's unknown whether the history on this page is the "systematic arrangement of the data concerning the Minerds," or whether there was some other material (now lost) that Minerd prepared. Within five days, Minerd got married and left for Philadelphia, where he enrolled in medical school .

 

~ Part Second ~

Grandmother Martha Harbaugh, daughter of Jacob Minerd [Sr.] was born at Emmetsburg, Maryland, Mar. 10, 1789. The Jacob Minerd [Jr.] to whom we referred was certainly her brother, and, if correct, then Jacob [Sr.] was the primogenitor, as his birth antedates the Revolutionary War.

Jacob Minerd [Sr.] married Mary Nein, to whom was also born Frederick Minerd, of Perry County, Ohio, who died there in May, 1871, about a week after the writer visited him.[iii] He was well advanced in years, and lived with a daughter, Mrs. David R. Johnson. I saw him fall with heart trouble in the morning. I bade all adieu, and returned six months later.

Jacob [Sr.], upon moving from Maryland to the recent Joseph Klink place, once the Rev. David Fulton farm, at Nicolay, Pa., pitched his camp under a large tree until he built his cabin.[iv] Thus he labored erecting his home and clearing his land. He also boiled salt at Victoria. Grandmother, while yet in girlhood, carried his provisions to Saltspring Bottom, in danger from wild beasts, but Providence to her was kind.

This Martha Minerd married Jacob Imel, to which union was born one daughter, called Susie, who, when marriageable, wedded a Mr. Knight. They were the parents of Martha, who became the wife of John R. Jennings. Mr. Imel died prior to the year 1819.

Then Leonard Harbaugh, son of Casper, a widower, whose wife had been Elizabeth Pritts, were parents of eight. About six months after Elizabeth’s demise, he married widow Martha, daughter of Jacob Minerd [Sr.], in the year 1819, to whom five Harbaugh children were added, namely:-

  • Elizabeth, born Aug. 18, 1820.

  • Isaac, June 11, 1822

Both died young, dates unknown.

  • Leonard, Jr., (father of writer), born Sept. 28, 1824.

  • Adeline, wife of Chas. Minerd, born Apr. 13, 1827.

  • David, born Sept. 27, 1831.

Leonard Harbaugh, Jr., married Mariah Elizabeth Eicher, Apr. 20, 1848, to which union only one child, a son, was born, Allen E. Harbaugh, July 7, 1849. [Note - in the first draft, Harbaugh wrote that Leonard Jr. "had only one child, your humble writer, who pays an immortal tribute to the memory of his dearly beloved grandmother."]

Leonard [Jr.] lived in Normalville and Mill Run, dying at the latter place Sept. 11, 1896, aged 71 years, 11 months, 13 days.

Adeline Harbaugh, who married Chas. Minerd, Sept. 9, 1847, was mother of nine children, as stated in the first part of this history. She, in life, was highly esteemed. She died Feb. 8, 1899, aged 72 years, 2 months, 5 days.

David Harbaugh, who married Mary Magdalene Whipkey, Dec. 26, 1852, was father of twelve children, namely:-

David lived an exemplary life, and died Dec. 13, 1910, aged 79 years, 2 months, 16 days.

So Martha, once Imel, one child, and three married having children to the Harbaugh union, is credited with having had twenty-three grandchildren.[v]

Leonard Harbaugh Sr., was born Feb. 14, 1780, died Mar. 2, 1867, aged 87 years, 1 month, 19 days. [Note - Harbaugh's first draft said here that "Both, Leonard and Martha Harbaugh were members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Harbaugh died of decline and old age... Martha his widow survived him until Jan. 14th, 1878, living almost 89 years."

Here we rest this genealogy until some future time. We are stopping on the even line of Jacob Minerd Sr.’s great grandchildren, far as traced, at this date.

All great grandchildren, even some of their parents, are not fully accounted for.

To collect such material, I have succeeded in part; but it is too fragmentary to add to this already lengthy article.

Thanking you, my dear cousins and friends for your attention and interest, I am happy to acknowledge you.

I am your obedient servant, and sincere friend,

(Signed) Allen E. Harbaugh 

 

 

 

[i]  Although Harbaugh's original version gives this name as "Henry," every other source we have found - a vast number of deeds, tax lists, censuses and books such as the 1882 History of Fayette County, show that the pioneer's name was actually "Jacob." Since Jacob had a son Henry, Harbaugh may have confused one with the other. Henry Minerd is surprisingly absent from this history despite the fact that his multitude of descendants were scattered throughout Fayette County, and would have been known to Harbaugh. Interestingly, Henry's grandson, Rev. David E. Minerd, became Secretary of the reunion the following year, in 1914.

 

[ii]  "Our modern Egypt" probably refers to the old Egypt railroad station in Egypt District, Stewart Township, Fayette County, a political subdivision at the time. The Egypt District was mountainous and located just over 3 miles from where the Minerds lived.

 

[iii]  Frederick Miner indeed died in 1871, in Perry County, Ohio, at the home of his daughter, Mahala (Miner) Johnson. However, the date of death was Aug. 3, not in May as Harbaugh recalled. Frederick is buried at the Hopewell Cemetery near Somerset, OH, in a plot of graves that includes his sister in law, Mary Minor, wife of Daniel Miner Sr., another of the pioneers' children not discussed in this history. Surely Harbaugh must have had some knowledge of Daniel Miner's branch.

 

[iv] This farm is now owned in part by the  Steyer family, along the Fayette-Somerset border. Today, gigantic windmills stand on the highest part of the farm, using wind power to generate electricity for local residents, and can be seen for many miles. At the time the Minerds lived there, the farm contained 393 acres, and while they did not own it, they resided there for more than two decades.

 

[v]  Martha (Minerd) Harbaugh's grave marker at the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Mill Run, Fayette County, still exists and is fairly legible. When we installed the Revolutionary War grave marker for her father, in 2003, we placed it directly beside Martha's, both facing in the same downhill direction. Were it not for Martha, in old age, telling stories of pioneer life to her grandson Allen E. Harbaugh, and then for him in old age to write this history for the 1913 Minerd Reunion, this knowledge would be lost.