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Kathryn (Rhinehart) Bassett

For much more current info, see I no longer update this site. I'm just leaving it here because there are so many references to it in various Rootsweb archives. Presentation here is different, is not up to date, and not as complete.

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Proof 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 Catharina Jost).


In 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."

Tradition (another version)

The 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."

The Clue

I have 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 link.

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 in Philadelphia.

Why these 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).
The Proof

I had 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.

[Family 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.


The first 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 Esch.

(Go to Adam's pedigree chart)
(Go to pedigree chart of his 1G Grandson)

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