that Adam Ash (1744-1819) of Harrison County West Virginia is the
same person as the immigrant Johann Adam Esch who immigrated on
the Brig Morton Star in 1772.
Years ago I started out with "The Family Tradition", which is the
usual chestnut about 'three brothers", and as usual, it has true elements,
but not completely accurate. First are some examples of the "tradition",
followed by the major clue that led me to the 1770 German marriage
record of Adam Ash and Catharine Yost (Johann Adam Esch and Maria
The Purkey Family and the Delaney Family by Sandra L. Delaney
(Allen Co., Fort Wayne, IN, Library) a genealogy of Adam Ash is described:
"Henry Ash was the brother of Adam Ash. They came to the United States
along with a third brother, John, in about 1770. Henry first settled
with his brothers in Chester County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
He patented land with his brother, Adam, in Bethel Township, Bedford
County, Pennsylvania, in 1789. He served during the Revolutionary
War in the Chester County militia and enlisted in the Bedford County
militia in 1781. In 1778, he took the Patriots' Oath of Fidelity and
Support in Washington County, Maryland. Apparently, he ultimately
settled in Washington County. Henry married Catherine ??, probably
prior to his immigration to the United States. They had five children:
Abraham, died ca. 1833 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Married Catherine
??. Jacob; David; Henry, born ca. 1760 in Germany; died in 1849 in
Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Married Barbara Miller (ca. 1765-1849)
in ca. 1784; John, born February 8, 1775, died ca. 1830 in Washington
County, Maryland. Married Mary ??."
continuing..."Adam Ash was born in Germany in March 1744. He is said
to have been of English (Scotch-Irish) ancestry on his father's side
and German on his mother's side. He and his wife, Catherine Yost,
sailed from Amsterdam, Holland, to settle in the United States about
1770. Adam married Catherine in Germany in ca. 1768, before their
immigration. Catherine was born in Germany in 1749. Adam was accompanied
to America by his two brothers, John and Henry, and their families.
The passage took about six weeks, and they encountered many storms
which drove the ship back toward Holland. Adam's and Catherine's first
child Christopher, was born on the voyage over. The three brothers
settled first in Chester County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
While living in the state, Adam served as an American soldier in the
Revolutionary War. He served as a private in Captain Parker's company,
2nd Battalion, of the Chester County militia from August 5, 1776 to
September 10, 1776. He then moved westward to Bedford County. A land
warrant was issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 200 acres
in Bethel Township, Bedford County, on November 4, 1789 to Henry and
Adam Ash. In return, the brothers agreed to pay the state ten pounds
per 100 acres "in Gold, Silver, Paper Money of this State, or certificates."
The land, situated on both sides of Tonoloway Creek, was surveyed
April 30, 1795 for 286 acres 107 perches. This particular parcel of
land was later given to Henry Ash, Jr., by his father, Henry (brother
of Adam), and is mentioned in Henry's will, dated January 6, 1801
in Washington County, Maryland."
George Morris Family of Ten Mile, With Genealogical Charts For Other
Affiliated Families, A Story of The Pioneer Families of The Ten Mile
Valley In Harrison County West Virginia by Ollie B Morris and
Eva Ruth Morris copyright 1967, page 294 says:
"Three Ash brothers named John, Adam and Henry were of Scotch-Irish
nationality, but in their younger days had gone to Holland where they
seem to have married and lived for awhile. Several years before the
Revolutionary War these brothers with their families embarked for
America sailing from Amsterdam, Holland. After a six-weeks voyage
they arrived and settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia."
known about Henry's existence because I have land transactions involving
both Adam and Henry, but had never made an in-depth study of his family.
In June 1999 I found the web site of Mary (Lowe) Ash:
where she gave the this following source which proved to be the missing
The Pennsylvanische Geschichts-Schreiber newspaper, published
by Christopher Sauer, mentions in an article the following advertisement:
"April 1,1755. Johann Wilhelm Esch, from Runckelischen Land, arrived
in America a year and a half ago. His brother Henrich arrived last
autumn, and is serving with Georg Schmitt, opposite the printer, in
Germantown. He seeks his brother."
The author of More Palatine Families comments "The origins of the
family, then, probably would be at or near 6251 Runckel, home of several
1709er emigrants. As Henrich Esch of Pennsylvania had been looking
for his brother for over six months, there is the strong possibility
that Johann Wilhelm Esch may have settled in another colony. The Red
Hook Lutheran Church book in Dutchess Co., N.Y., notes that a John
Wilhelmus Esch joined the church there June 5, 1757. Wilhelm Esch
and his wife Elisabetha Dopp are then found in other churches in the
Hudson Valley, such as the New Hackensack Reformed, Schaghticok Reformed,
and Poughkeepsie Reformed Churches.
"'Heinrich Esch' arrived October 21, 1754 on the ship Friendship,
Charles Ross, Captain. The ship sailed from Amsterdam, with the last
port being Gosport, England. The inhabitants of the ship were from
Franconia and Hesse, and there were 7 Roman Catholics." The ship landed
men were thought to be of "English (Scotch-Irish)" ancestry is unknown
because Esch is a German name, they were associated with Germans traditons
and churches, and Adam wrote one deed in German. The "Runckelischen
Land" clue was invaluable since it was what led to the Runkel church
records where the marriage of Adam and Catharine was found. (By the
way, though there is proof that John and Henry are bothers, and Adam
is definitely a relative of Henry's because of later transactions
involving both of them, so far there is nothing to prove what that
relationship is. It is just as likely to be an uncles/nephew relationship
as that of a much younger brother. Once we find baptismal records
the exact relationship should be clarified).
already been convinced in my own mind that Adam Ash and immigrant
Johann Adam Esch were the same person. Now with this clue of Runckelischen
Land, it was time to get out a good German map. I found out from others
that "...ischen Land" is a common German place name ending and that
I should look for Runkel. I found one near Limberg. Now it was time
to see what Runkel records were available at the Family History Library
in Salt Lake City UT. I was lucky, since there isn't much, that what
was available was just what I needed.
After consulting with the volunteers on the "International Floor"
of the library, I was armed with a sample of what the name Esch would
look like in old German script. I was actually looking for baptismal
records to prove or disprove that Adam was a brother to Henry and
John William (to use the Americanization of their names) but had no
success. Then I decided I would try the marriage record for the one
date I knew, that of Adam and Catharine. I found an entry in the right
month where I could clearly make out Johann Adam with a last name
that looked like my sample, and Maria Catharina. I hadn't thought
to ask what what Yost looked like but knew that it would be a J not
a Y. So back I went to the volunteers for a translation which turned
out to be:
Johann Adam Esch of Blessenbach, shoemaker master, the son of Johann
Heinrick Esch from there, legitimate son, and Maria Catharina, daughter
of John Pieter Jost from here, legitimate daughter
Proc (Banns) 25 Febr. Cop (married) 21 Mar in this year.
History Library film #195130 item 2 page 21 of (evangelical) church
records book from
Runkel, Hessen-Naussau, Preussen, Germany]
I've attached three images. Clicking on Esch-Jost
Marriage will get you a scanned and cleaned image of the marriage
record. Clicking on Runkel
will show you the area around Runkel and Blessenbach, which is near
Limberg Germany. Clicking on Limberg
will show you an overview of Germany with Limberg pointed out.
known signature for Adam Ash is the passenger list from the Brig Morton
Star, (George Demster, Master), which arrived 24 Dec 1772 from Rotterdam,
last from Cowes. On list is Johann
Adam Esch. There is an actual signature in Pennsylvania German
Pioneers (by Straussberger, SLC 974.811 W3s), 3rd volume which
is the facsimile signatures volume
In Harrison County WV, are three more documents of concern to our
proof that Adam was German.
In marriage book 2 page 113 (SLC film 847274) there is a bond dated
6 Aug 1805 for Adam & Catharine's daughter Eve
Ash. Adam signed that bond Adam Esch in German.
In deed book 6 page 166 dated 21 Jul 1806, Adam also wrote his name
in German, but unfortunately the originals of the early deed books
were transcribed into typescript and then destroyed. That is a shame
because it might have given us yet another original signature to compare
with a passenger list signature. But the point here is that underneath
where the "signature" of Adam Ash is typed is the phrase "Wrote in
Duch." Duch would be the mis-spelling of Deutch which means German.
In marriage book 2 page 343 (SLC film 847274) there is a bond dated
7 Feb 1810 for Adam & Catharine's daughter Mary
Ash. Adam signed that bond Adam Esch in German as well. On that
one, someone wrote underneath his signature "Adam Ash in English".
I've put all three of the signatures together in one graphic to make
it easier to compare them. We do not have any samples of Adam ever
signing his name as Adam Ash, only Adam
(Go to Adam's pedigree chart)
(Go to pedigree chart of his 1G Grandson)
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24 Oct 1999.