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16 May 1778: Oath of Allegiance Signed by Caspar Bierbaur

Caspar Bierbure- Oath of Allegiance, 16 May 1778. From"House of Bierbauer- Two Hundred Years of Family History" by JC Culver and CW Beerbower, 1942, page 47.
Caspar Bierbaur- Oath of Allegiance Record, 16 May 1778. From “House of Bierbauer- Two Hundred Years of Family History” by JC Culver and CW Beerbower, 1942, page 47.

Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

Two hundred and thirty seven years plus one month ago today, in York County, Pennsylvania, Caspar J. Bierbaur (Bierbauer/Beerbower) stepped in front of an official and pledged his Oath of Allegiance to the new state. The General Assembly of Pennsylvania had passed an Act on 13 June 1777, requiring citizens to give the Oath, and the above record of that oath included Caspar’s name and residence.

Oath of Allegiance Transcription:

York County in Pennsylvania, ss.

I DO hereby certify, that Casper Bierbaur
hath voluntarily taken and subscribed the oath
of Allegiance and Fidelity, as directed
by an ACT of GENERAL ASSEMBLY
of Pennsylvania, passed the 13th Day of June, A. D.
1777, Witness my Hand and Seal, the Sixteenth
Day of May A. D. 1778

N127 Danial Messerly [“L.S. in circle”]

These are the words that Caspar would have said on 16 May 1778:

1777 Pennsylvania Oath of Allegiance given by Caspar Bierbure on 16 May 1778.
1777 Pennsylvania Oath of Allegiance given by Caspar J. Bierbaur on 16 May 1778.

It was important for each of the states during the revolution to make sure that none of their citizens still gave their allegiance to Great Britain. Since Caspar was born in Germany, it might be thought that he was a Hessian soldier, or had been one, so it was especially important for Caspar to remind his neighbors about his political allegiance. He likely had been in America for many years with his family, but it has been challenging to find that documentation. (The year 1752 is what many researchers agree upon as his immigration date.)

Just before Caspar uttered his Oath of Allegiance, on 05 Feb 1778, the Articles of Confederation were ratified by South Carolina, the first state to do so. One day later, on 06 Feb, Britain declared war on its age-old enemy, France, and France signed the Treaty of Alliance in Paris, the first foreign power to recognize the United States as a sovereign state. George Washington and his troops were struggling through a horribly cold winter at Valley Forge, and Baron von Steuben, a Prussian, arrived to train and drill the Continental soldiers in tactics and military discipline. His training of our troops was invaluable in helping to win the war.

Additionally, York, Pennsylvania, became the headquarters of the Continental Congress after the British invaded Philadelphia in September of 1777. Philadelphia was occupied for ten months, and the Continental Congress stayed in York until July, 1778. Our ancestor, Caspar J. Beerbower was there, while history was being made. I wonder if he knew our country’s founders, socialized with them, called them, ‘friend’? Or possibly he only saw them as he moved about the town.

An interesting note: Benedict Arnold signed his Oath of Allegiance just 2 weeks after Caspar, but at Valley Forge. Within a year Arnold was plotting to change his allegiance to the British. Caspar, however, would enlist one year later in the Continental Army, at age 45, proving his allegiance to his new country.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) House of Bierbauer.  Two Hundred Years of Family History, 1742-1942 compiled by James Culver Bierbower and Charles William Beerbower. Published under the direction of Beerbower History Committee, 1942.

2) Information concerning the material on the microfilm, “Oaths of allegiance, 1777-1790,” from original records of the revolutionary government, 1775-1790 in the Pennsylvania State Archives- https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/685500?availability=Family%20History%20Library

3) Oath from page 1 of Names of Persons Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Pennsylvania Between the Years 1777 and 1789, with a History of the “Test Laws” of Pennsylvania by Thompson Westcott, Philadelphia: John Campbell, 1865. Accessed 6/4/15 at https://ia902205.us.archive.org/11/items/namesofpersonswh00west/namesofpersonswh00west.pdf

This Oath was given in 1778, however this book begins the list of names on 11 Dec 1778, so Caspar Bierbauer is not listed in it.

4) Transcription by the author. Note that a double f- “ff” – stands for a double s in colonial writing, both handwritten and printed. In some documents the ‘s’ may also be written with an ‘f’ after to signify a double ‘s’- ‘sf.’

 

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Sibling Saturday: Olive Beerbower and Mary Emma Beerbower

Ollie Beerbower and Caspar Beerbower
Ollie Beerbower and Caspar Beerbower, children of Samuel and Jane Huggins Beerbower. Courtesy of Marion County [Ohio] Historical Society. c mid 1860s? (Click to enlarge.) 
Beerbower Family-

Mary Emma Beerbower and Olive Beerbower were not siblings, but instead, children of two siblings, our direct ancestor Eleazer John “E. J.” Beerbower (1815-1882) and his brother, Samuel Beerbower (1824-1890); this made them cousins.

Olive Beerbower was the daughter of Samuel Beerbower (1824-1890) and  Nance “Jane” Huggins Beerbower (1834-1930- she was 96 when she died!). Born on 13 March 1855 in Prospect, Marion County, Ohio, Olive was the first of three children born to Samuel and his wife.

Olive probably helped out at home when her brother, Caspar Samuel Beerbower, pictured above, was born four years later, in 1859.

“Ollie” as she was affectionately known, grew up in Marion, Ohio with her brother.  They lived next to her uncle E. J. and his family, and she would have played with her cousins, particularly Mary Emma Beerbower, who was just 3 years older, but who only had brothers. Ollie’s father was a marble cutter, and they likely were fairly comfortable, as the 1860 census notes that he owned $1500 in real estate and had $850 in personal value. Her uncle E. J. was also a highly skilled craftsman, as he was a buggy upholsterer. Neither family was rich, but they probably had enough to get by.

Mary "Emma" Beerbower and her brother John Eleazer Beerbower
Mary “Emma” Beerbower and her brother John Eleazer Beerbower, children of Eleazer John Beerbower and Matilda Louise McKelvey Beerbower, c late 1860s? Courtesy of Marion County [Ohio] Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)
Mary Emma Beerbower, or “Emma” as she was called (Germans often used their middle name on a daily basis, rather than their first Christian name), was the daughter of Eleazer John Beerbower and Matilda Louise McKelvey Beerbower. She was the eighth of nine children, born 10 March 1852 in Marion. Her brother John E. Beerbower, above, was the baby of the family.

The early 1860s were an unsettling time for both families, as it was for the whole nation as southern states seceded and war broke out to preserve the Union. Emma’s brother and Ollie’s cousin, Samuel T. Beerbower, decided to enlist for a term of 3 years in the Union Army beginning October 23, 1861; he was just 19, and 10 years older than Emma. The Underground Railroad operated through Ohio, and much of the state had northern sympathies. The family would have closely followed the news of battles and Samuel’s unit, hoping to not hear the bad news so dreaded by families who have members serving their country.

The terror of the War of the Rebellion really came home to Ohio in July of 1863, when Morgan’s Confederates entered southern Ohio as part of their 46-day, 1,000 mile raid through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Thankfully the Raiders did not get as far north as Marion, but they were close enough, and people were afraid they might get that far. Although captured in Ohio (but they escaped), the Confederate Raiders successfully diverted Union troops from southern campaigns, and definitely did strike fear into the population as part of the psychological warfare of the time. Ollie was just eight, Emma eleven- it must have been very frightening to children, especially with so many young men away fighting, and not there to protect their families.

Even more frightening was what happened next, just four months after the Raiders hit Ohio-  Samuel T., who had fought in many of the War’s battles, was wounded on November 25, 1863. He was charging up the mountain bravely at Mission Ridge, Georgia, when a ball went through him near his shoulder blade and spine, lacking an inch or so of paralyzing him from his chest down for life. He spent three months recuperating in military hospitals, until his arm was more usable, and then requested a discharge home to more fully recover. It was granted, and he mustered out March 23, 1864. It must have been quite a homecoming!

Emma’s brother Stephen Russell Beerbower, age 19, enlisted just six weeks after his brother Samuel T. came home. Emma was probably heartbroken, but grateful that her two little brothers were too young to enlist.

And then Ollie’s nine-year-old world really fell apart- her father, Samuel Beerbower, enlisted in the Union Army on the same day, in the same unit as Stephen: May 2, 1864, Co. B, 136th Ohio.

The mix of emotions must have been so difficult for the two girls- pride in their family serving the Union (and going to get those Rebs who hurt their Samuel!), fear for the safety of their loved ones, especially after seeing Samuel’s injury, and that hole in their heart as the 136th Ohio marched off to war.

Why would they enlist- especially Samuel, at age 39, and a husband and father?

As the war continued and more soldiers were needed, conscription was begun in 1863 for men between 20 and 45 years old. Samuel was thus eligible- maybe he enlisted, knowing that he might be drafted, or perhaps he felt he needed to help the Union finally win the war.  All the men in his unit were mustered in on that same date, with those in higher positions knowing the Union was preparing to launch a massive campaign on many fronts to try to finally end the war.

Samuel and Stephen had 100-day enlistments, and those units generally did guard duty at facilities and strategic places, such as Washington, D.C., freeing up the trained troops for actual fighting elsewhere. It wasn’t quite as dangerous as being in the field, though at times it could be a dangerous, possibly even lethal, situation.

 

It was probably a very long 100 days for the whole family, including Ollie and Emma.

 

To be continued…

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) 1860 US Federal Census for Samuel Beerbower: Year: 1860; Census Place: Marion, Marion, Ohio; Roll: M653_1006; Page: 326; Image: 123; Family History Library Film: 805006. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

2) Morgan’s Raid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan%27s_Raid

3) Civil War conscription: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_the_United_States#Civil_War

4) Wilson Peters, who would later become Samuel T. Beerbower’s brother-in-law, was in the 136th Ohio as well. There are other familiar last names on the roster as well, which shows that the company was tight-knit, and all from the same area.

5) See “Those Places Thursday: Bertha Beatrice Beerbower and her World Travels” to learn more about Ollie’s youngest sister Bertha. http://heritageramblings.net/2015/03/19/those-places-thursday-bertha-beatrice-beerbower-and-her-world-travels/

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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