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Probate and Land Records

Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1330812178000
Classification: Query
Anyone have luck researching old probate and land records in Crawford County? I am researching a couple of families in Meadville from 1850 - 1900. Also, were any newspapers known to print obituaries from Meadville during this time? Thanks!

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1330826155000
Classification: Query
Newspapers for Crawford Co. date from 1805. All vital records (mostly marriages and deaths in the 1800's)have been indexed, so they are fairly easy to check. What families are you searching? Of course, you probably know that obituaries were often nothing more than brief announcements including name of deceased, date and place, unless you were in some way out of the ordinary (Rev. War vet, for example).

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1330885268000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Eggleston Brittingham
Thanks for your reply. I am researching three generations of paternal great grandparents. The first record I have of them living in Crawford County is the 1860 U.S. Census. (In 1850 they were in Union Twp., Erie County)

1860-1865 - Harvey Hurd Eggleston and Rachel Amelia Brittingham Eggleston are found living in Vernon, Crawford County with Rachel's parents Eliza (Elijah?) and Ann Brittingham. Also living with them is their 7-year old son, William, who would be their only child. Harvey and Eliza (Elijah?) are listed as farmers. An 1865 Internal Revenue tax assessment shows H.H. Eggleston being taxed for cattle and swine.

1870-1896 - Harvey Hurd, Rachel Amelia and William Orlando Eggleston are living in Meadville Ward 3. The Brittinghams are no longer with them by 1870. I found a Find-a-Grave entry for Ann Brittingham at a small cemetery in Meadville that lists her death as 1865. I have not found such a record for her husband Eliza (Elijah?).

Both Harvey Hurd Eggleston and his son William Orlando Eggleston worked for the Atlantic and Great Western and Erie Railroads. They lived in Meadville until 1896. Rachel Amelia Brittingham Eggleston passed away in 1896 and was buried at Greendale Cemetery. However, upon Harvey Hurd's death in Huntington, IN in 1914, William had his mother's remains re-interred in Huntington, IN. (This fact was a challenge to figure out!)

I am working to find more information on these individuals through their ties in Indiana. However, my "dead end" is with Harvey Hurd's father and mother. I am hoping that information I might find on him in Meadville could point me that direction. Also, I know nothing of the Brittinghams except for their names and that they were living in Vernon, PA in 1850. I believe they were from Maryland.

As for the Egglestons, none of the marriages took place in Crawford County. The deaths of the Brittinghams most likely were in the Meadville area. That's why I was wondering about probate. Also, I assume these families owned houses. They were carpenters by trade and built the old Meadville train station (the one that McHenry House was attached to). They also built and supervised railroad bridges. I sense that they were fairly well set financially.

I've contacted the secretary for the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society to see if there are employee records for the railroad that could be viewed. He referred me to the Crawford County Historical Society. I haven't reached out to them yet, but I do feel that I have an ancestry "vacation" in the offing and Meadville is a primary stop. That's one reason for my inquiry...I know some county records can be difficult to obtain. I'm pretty much in the infancy of planning my research trip. I also feel like I need to put Union City (Township) on my itinerary as well, the two cities appear to be only 30 miles apart. Sorry that was so lengthy.

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1330905621000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Brittingham
I can do some checking for you, for obits for the Brittinghams first. I am not sure where you live, but perhaps Pennsylvania has strange political boundaries/
terminology to you. Vernon is a township. Union City is too little to be a city, is probably a borough, but is definitely not a township. Union is a township in Erie Co. (and there is also a Union township in Crawford Co.) : o )

I answer queries for the Crawford Co. Historical Society, so you have inadvertently contacted the society already.

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1330907619000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Eggleston Brittingham Sturdevant
Thank you for your time and assistance. I live near Clearwater, Florida. On the Brittinghams, I found a Maryland marriage record on for Elijah Brittingham and Ann Calloham on January 23, 1827. I believe this might be them as their daughter Rachel was born in 1831, however, Rachel was born in New York according to U.S. Census records. The only census I could find with Elijah and Ann Brittingham is 1860 when they are in Vernon, PA. Elijah is spelled "Eliza", which I'm guessing might be incorrect. But I suppose it could be Eliza as well.

I'll leave the link to the Find-a-Grave record for Ann Brittingham. It details her birth and death dates. I did not create the memorial, but the creator did transfer "ownership" of the memorial to my Find-a-Grave account. From Ann Brittingham's memorial you will find a link to Rachel Brittinham Eggleston's memorial.;

Thanks for clearing up the City vs. Township information. These ancestors definitely spent time in the borough of what is now Union City in Erie County, PA. Another surname that is intertwined with the Egglestons and Brittinghams is Sturdevant. If you happen to see these names together anywhere, there's most likely a connection.

I've given you too much information! So sorry.

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1331004152000
Classification: Query
Okay, I spent a few minutes at the HS checking on obits. There was nothing for the Brittinghams. There ia a very brief announcement of the death of Rachel, and an obit for Harvey H. I was going to copy them, but the HS was closing - I can go back if you want them. I also checked the index to Erie RR applications, which the HS has in its collection - found nothing for Harvey, but most of the applications date from the early 1900's. Have you found the Erie RR website? There are several Eggleston entries there. Try this link.

I also took a look at the index to Mt. Pleasant Cem. in Union Twp. - which is not "in" Meadville, but miles out in the countryside. It was considered unkempt and somewhat derelict in 1975, and it may be worse now. Apparently there were lots of broken stones, also.

I noted that there were lots of Egglestons in northern Crawford Co., near the border with Erie Co.

Sorry I didn't find more. I will check at the court house the next time I am there.

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1331012641000
Classification: Query
Thanks so much for taking the time to look for me. I'm a collector so, yes, I would love copies of those obits if that is doable. Absolutely NO hurry or inconvenience, please.

I have seen those Erie RR records that Jame Sponholz put together. They are a real treasure for family researchers. Much of the information on that site comes from years of Erie Railroad Employee Magazines. James referred me to the Salamanca Rail Museum in New York, which has a large collection of those magazines. I found someone (like you) near Salamanca who took her photo scanner to the museum an scanned dozens of articles pertaining to these same ancestors. Most of the articles were very limited in information, but there are at least a half dozen that are quite revealing!

I mentioned earlier that I have hit a brick wall with this part of my family tree. My last "known" ancestor is Harvey Hurd Eggleston (b. 1827). However, I have some information about who his parents might be. I just haven't been able to confirm it with proof. Again, this is why I'm bothering you! :-) One of those Erie Railroad Employee Magazines contains an obit for H.H. Eggleston from 1914. The obit states he was born in Syracuse, New York. I'm not 100% convinced he was born in Syracuse proper. As I mentioned, he was born in 1827. There is a 1930 U.S. Census from Tully, NY (19 miles south of Syracuse) that shows a Quartus Eggleston living with two young children who would be in the age range of Harvey Hurd and his sister Mary Jane. I have a photo copy of a hand-written ledger of Harvey Hurd Eggleston's death from the Huntington, IN Health Department that shows his father's first name, but the cursive is VERY difficult to read. However, it is clear the first letter is a "Q". It also shows his mother's maiden name as "Sturdevant". There is a 1924 marriage record from Norfolk, Litchfield, Connecticut that shows a "Guartus" Egleston married to a Clarissa Sturdevant. I believe Quartus Eggleston and Clarissa Sturdevant are my 4th great grandparents. But again, no real proof.

Through an ancestor of Harvey Hurd Eggleston's sister, I have obtained copies of letters written by another family from Fabius, NY in 1836. In these letters they reference Quartus Egleston moving his family from New York to Texas and how "the Sturdevants fear they will never see Clarissa again". History tells us that The Alamo fell in 1836 and tension was high between Mexico and Texans at this time. One of the letters states that the Egleston's ship made it to New Orleans. That is the last I've seen anything about Quartus. However Clarissa, Harvey and Mary Jane eventually make it back. The next records found for them is the 1850 U.S. Census where Harvey is living with Rachel in Union Township (Erie) and Clarissa has married Caleb Thompson (part of the Union Township pioneer Thompson family) and has Mary Jane Eggleston and Clarissa's mother Rebecca Sturdevant living with them. This is why I was also interested in the Sturdevant family. There are many Sturdevants buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Union Township. Clarissa is buried in the Thompson Pioneer Cemetery in Union Township with many of the founding Thompson family. I believe the Thompson Pioneer Cemetery is in much the same condition as the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery you mentioned.

My big mystery is what became of Quartus Eggleston and is he, as I suspect, my 4th great grandfather. It amazes me that this family, along with the Sturdevants, traveled from Connecticut to New York, Texas and Pennsylvania all before 1900. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been.

I am VERY intrigued in what you mentioned as "lots of Egglestons in northern Crawford Co., near the border with Erie Co." I would love to follow up on this and learn the names of these Egglestons if there is a record of them available. Perhaps if any information exists on these ancestors, it will be found in Union Township or elsewhere in Crawford County rather than Meadville.

Any time you're willing to put forth looking is greatly appreciated. I feel that if I can get pat the next generation or two, I'll find many common ancestors with other researchers. Thanks again!

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1331075255000
Classification: Query
A 10-minute detour through the office of Register and Recorder was informative, to put it mildly. Lots of goodies. Ann Brittingham left a will. I looked at the transcription, but did not have time to request a copy of the original will. (RD 2:571, WB C:552) Will make 28 Oct. 1859, registered 20 March 1865. She is "of Vernon." The interesting part is that SHE owns the family farm. She bequeaths "the farm we now reside on" in Vernon Township - 100 acres - plus all the livestock and crops, to her husband Elijah. She also appointed her husband executor of her will. Curious, isn't it?

And, Elijah also left a will which proved equally interesting (WB D:32). Made 26 Aug. 1866, copy registered in Crawford Co. on 18 Sept. 1867. When the will was made, Elijah was living in Washington Co., Missouri, and he apparently died there although no date of death was mentioned. He left his son William O. (!) exactly $1.00, and his daughter Elisabeth M. Wonderhill (? not sure) $1.00. All of the household goods and kitchen furniture went to his beloved wife Margarite, and everything else was divided between his son John W. and his wife Margarite. They were his executors. No other children were mentioned.

So - second wife, move "west" by 1866, and apparent death in Missouri! Hope this gives you some new leads. If you want copies of the wills, they usually charge $.50 per page.

Re: Probate and Land Records

Posted: 1331086639000
Classification: Query
Woohoo! I love finding new stuff (even though you're the one who actually found it). I definitely want physical copies of anything you find. Please let me know the best way to proceed. I want to make sure the proper steps are made to secure the documentation you find, and I'd also like to discuss with you fair compensation for your time and work. Perhaps it might be best to continue this dialogue offline. Please feel free to contact me at my email address:

I am very excited with your discovery. I'm curious to hear your interpretation of what transpired in these wills. It seems a bit harsh that a son and daughter only received $1.00, does it not? It also would appear that Rachel Brittingham must have named her son after her brother. Actually, it's puzzling that Rachel is not mentioned in either of these wills. You may recall I mentioned that Rachel and Harvey Hurd Eggleston were living with Elijah and Ann Brittingham in 1860, in Vernon.

I am good for whatever fees are required for copies and mailing. I appreciate everything you've done so far. So now we have these two wills and the two obituaries for H. Eggleston and Rachel Eggleston. I hope you don't mind collecting these items for me.


Will, probate and/or obituary

Posted: 1357663387000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Ward, Wetmore
Hello Allyn,

I saw this post saying you answered queries for the Crawford County Historical Society and am hoping you can assist me.

Caleb Ward, who died in 1840, and is buried in Crawford County, shows promise that he is the father of my g-great-grandfather, John Wesley Ward and I hope to be able to prove a connection. Dates, places, and family connections are what causes me to think he is John's father.

Caleb is buried with his wife, Nancy (Ann) Rice, and their daughter & her husband, Harriet E. and William Donaghy Wetmore, in Spring Cemetery. Caleb died Sep. 16, 1840 and Nancy (Ann) died Mar. 17, 1865, both in Springboro.

I am hoping there is a will/probate for either or both Caleb Ward or his wife Nancy (Ann) Ward; plus an obit or death notice for either one.

If you are able to locate these documents, I will gladly pay any fees to receive copies.

Thank you for you kindness.
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