Tuesday, December 31, 2013

John Beaty Comes to America - Part 2

On November 12, 1806 John purchases a parcel of land from James Orr and his wife Mary in Armstrong Township near what will become the town of Shelocta (a few miles west of present day Indiana, PA). For the sum of $200, he gets about 125 acres to establish his very own homestead. The land sits on a higher part of the area, and once cleared out for farming would have had a commanding view of the surrounding landscape – and probably useful for spotting Indians too! Indiana County tax records in 1807 indicate that John was a shoemaker besides being a farmer. 

1807 Deed recorded in Indiana County
Not much more is known of his early days in America. He shows up once, along with his two eldest sons, as witnesses to the will of Alexander McEntire in 1811. Most of his time was surely spent working his farm, supporting his large family, devoted to his religious faith which he went to great lengths to keep… and basically just surviving in this mostly unsettled western Pennsylvania wilderness. They truly were pioneers.

October 1818 brings the unfortunate death of John leaving a wife and several minor children to continue on without him. Wives and minor children in those days did not have the inheritance rights like today, but fortunately in August 1818 John filed a Will:

Letters testamentary granted to James Beaty and Robert Beaty who were duly sworn on the twenty first day of October, 1818 before John Taylor, Register

In the name of God, Amen.

I, John Beaty, of the township of Armstrong in the County of Indiana, being in perfect health, and sound in mind and memory and understanding ( thanks be to almighty God for the same ), being mindful of my mortality do make and ordain this, my last will and testament. First and principally, I recommend my soul to God, who gave it, in hopes of a joyful resurection, and my body to the earth, to be buried decently at the discretion of my executors.

And to such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me, I give and dispose of thereof as follows: It is my will, and I do order and direct that my well beloved wife, Sarah Beaty, be furnished with a sufficient maintenance of the plantation I now live on. Next, I give and bequeath to my son Robert the plantation I now live on to him and his heirs forever, he supporting and maintaining his mother agreeably according to the preceeding article.

And further I do allow to my son, William, the sum of fifty dollars to be paid to him by my son, Robert. And further, I do allow to my son, Alexander, the sum of fifty dollars to be paid to him by my son Robert. And I also do allow to my daughter, Rebeccah the sum of fifty dollars to be paid to her by my son Robert.

And I do give and bequeath to my son James the sum of one dollar, and to my son John the sum of one dollar, and to my son Joseph the sum of one dollar and to my daughter Sarah I give the sum of one dollar. I do further allow to my daughter Rebeccah one good feather bed and bed clothes.

And further I allow to my son Alexander the looms and tackling which may remain in my shop. I do further allow that all the residue of my personal estate be equally divided between my sons Robert, William, and Alexander.

And I do further allow that all the furniture of the kitchen be given to my wife, Sarah Beaty. I do nominate and appoint my sons James and Robert Beaty to be my executors of this my last will and testament. I publish and declare this and no other to be my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal the eighth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen

                         John Beaty

Signed and sealed in the pesence of John Patterson, Mathew Allison, Indiana  Pa.


Be it remembered that on the twenty first day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen personally appeared before me. John Taylor, register for the probate of wills, and granting letters of administration in and for the County of Indiana. John Patterson and Mathew Allison the subscrining witnesses to the foregoing instrument of writing, and being duly sworn , depose and say that they were personally present and did see John Beaty ,the testor, set his hand and subscribe his name to the foregoing instrument and had him acknowledge it as his last will and at the same time they believed him to be of sound and disposing mind and memory  and that the names thereto subscribed as witnesses , to wit John Patterson and Mathew Allison are of their own proper handwriting.

               John Patterson and Mathew Allison

Sworn and subscribed Twenty First October, 1818 before John Taylor, Register

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John and Sarah had the following children

  • JAMES BEATY, b. 1788, Kingdom of Ireland; d. February 15, 1868, East Mahoning Township, Indiana County, PA.
  • JOHN BEATY, b. 1789, Kingdom of Ireland; d. 1860, Arlington, Sibley County, Minnesota.
  • JOSEPH BEATY, b. 1790, Kingdom of Ireland; d. Bet. 1850 – 1860, Armstrong Township, Indiana County, PA
  • SARAH BEATY, b. 1793, Kingdom of Ireland; d. after 1818.
  • ROBERT B. BEATTY, b. 1795, Ireland; d. February 27, 1867, Armstrong Township, Indiana County, PA.
  • WILLIAM ALLEN BEATY, b. 1797, Ireland; d. February 13, 1848, Armstrong Township, Indiana County, PA.
  • ALEXANDER BEATY, b. 1800, Dublin, Kingdom of Ireland; d. Bet. 1840 – 1850, Armstrong Township, Indiana County, PA.
  • REBECCA BEATY, b. 1806, Ireland, at sea, or in PA ??; d. 1879, White Township, Indiana County, PA.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

John Beaty Comes to America - Part 1

The first Beatty of our ancestry in America was John Beaty.... no that's not a misspelling, it was originally one T! John was born around 1765 in Ireland and was living in County Tyrone in northern Ireland before he immigrated. He married Sarah (last name unknown) around 1787. Sarah was born around 1762 and also was from northern Ireland.

Little is known of John’s early days over in Ireland. The majority of all early Irish records were destroyed in a fire and explosion in June 1922 at the beginning of the Irish Revolution, so researching early Irish ancestry is extremely difficult. What has been passed down is a story of religious persecution by the Catholic Church that pushed many families, including John’s, into leaving his homeland for a life in the new world and the religious freedom it offered. He was married with a large family before deciding to make the life changing trip to America.

In the beginning of May 1806, John along with his wife Sarah and 9 children leave the port of Londonderry on board the Brutus to make the arduous journey to the New World. On board they bring with them two trunks and a barrel, containing all the family’s worldly goods. The Beaty clan finally arrives on May 30, 1806 at the port of Philadelphia.


Manifest sheets from the Brutus.
John can be seen in the middle of the 2nd sheet.
But their journey is not done yet. John’s plan is to establish a new family homestead in Indiana County, PA. Trains are still a good 50 years away from regular service, so the family will have to make this trek by either horse drawn wagon or foot across the mountains of Pennsylvania, a trip that will take a few weeks at best. In 1806, Indiana County is still for the most part wilderness and still a large Indian population. Having been first established about 20 years earlier, a select few had made this area their new home. Clashes with Indians were not uncommon even up to this time and Block Houses were a way of life. These were fortified shelters that settlers would use to take cover. It’s safe to say that John most likely had a contact already established here for him to take on such a challenge with such a large family, but who they were is speculation at this point. Research shows three distinct Beaty families that settle near Indiana, PA during the early 1800’s, but no direct relation can be established.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 1948 - Irvin & Bertha Beatty House


Christmas day 1948 at Irvin & Bertha (Kretzer) Beatty's house in Upper Darby, PA

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

David H Beatty - Pittsburgh Christmas Memories

Here are a few random memories as told by my grandfather's brother David H. Beatty (you will recognize him as the clown in my header graphic). This would have been during the mid/late 1920's when the family was all in Pittsburgh. These came from his autobiography he wrote in the late 1960's.

Bert & Dave Beatty - 1923
"The attic at Grand maws (Lydia & Fred Kretzer's house) was a place we stayed away from as we always thought to be haunted.   Maybe that was because each year right after Christmas Grandmaw went to the sales in Pittsburgh department stores and bought toys and other gifts for the next Christmas and kept them in the attic where we were not to go.  She always had a separate chair at Christmas time for each grandchild loaded with gifts, so of course we enjoyed going there each year. In her dining room stood a Christmas tree which touched the high ceiling and around the tree was a regular little village built with ponds, streets, houses, trees, people, and an electric train which ran all around the tree."
"One Christmas my Aunt Lydia (Kretzer) gave me a little pocket knife (1½ or 2 inches long) of which I was terribly proud.  Of course I was showing it to everyone and then it slipped out of my hand as I was standing over the heater and I never saw it again, so naturally my Christmas was greatly saddened by this event."

"Our house had two floors on the part Dad and Grandpaw Beatty added and as I remember, the second was one very large room like a combination living room and den and there was a door at the top of the stairs going to this room.  One Christmas my brothers and sister and I told Mother and Dad that we could smell a Christmas tree.  Of course we were told promptly that we were mistaken but all the same the door stayed locked.  You see it was a custom when I was growing up, as long as we believed in Santa Claus, that Santa Claus not only brought the gifts but he also brought the tree.  You can see what a job that was for Mother and Dad since we must be in bed before the tree is even put up.  Anyway they would decorate the tree, put out the gifts and a little food, and then wake us up in the middle of the night to announce that Santa Claus had been there.  Well, we were thrilled to death and ran to the living room to see the tree and open the gifts.  After playing with our toys for awhile, and having a snack, we went back to bed for a few hours before it was again time to get up.  I do believe I enjoyed this much better than the way we do now."
"Another thing I can remember is the Christmas tree at Grand maw and Grand paw Beatty’s (Milton & Kate Beatty) with the candles clipped to the branches.  We were allowed to light them and it was a pretty sight to behold."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Wilmer Beatty - ca. 1900

Here's a homemade Christmas greeting from Wilmer H. Beatty to his
grandpa David Hughes, circa 1900. Wilmer was the oldest son of Milton & Kate (Hughes) Beatty.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Welcome to Our Story.....

As many of you know by now I've been researching our ancestry for over 10 years. What started out as simple curiosity and a love of history has ballooned into bookshelves of information, photos, and stories beyond anything I ever thought I would find. Along the way I've connected with relatives I've heard about in stories and others I never knew existed. Some I still keep in touch with and others have sadly passed away since I started. It has always been my goal to compile and make available to the family a history of who, what, where, and why of how we got here... but something a bit more interesting than just a boring list of names and dates. It's the stories and photos that really make our history come alive!

The more I've researched the more I've realized this project will never be done. There is always one more fact or story that will come out of the woodwork... so I'm making a commitment that now is the time to finally start getting the info out to everyone and this seems like the best way to go about doing it. This format will also let the family be interactive in commenting, asking questions, and maybe connecting some of the dots that I've yet to figure out. I will try as my schedule allows to make regular postings on here so keep checking or sign up to be notified when new posts are added. I also encourage you to ask questions and I will try to answer them or ideas you have for a post. And if there is a fact that is wrong or questionable... please tell me! I'm always updating and adding to our story. The main theme of this blog will be the Beatty's, but I will also be going into the maternal lines as well from my paternal grandparents on back. So there will also be some postings about the Hart side (and related families), Kretzer, Hughes, Miller, and Borland.

I don't have a graphical relationship tree on here for you to reference at this point (actually it's just too large!) so I will add mini trees with many posts so you can get an idea of where the ancestor fits in. The majority of you should know my grandparents and your relationship to them (Frederick Theodore "Ted" Beatty & Betty Hart Beatty) so they will be my starting point for these mini trees. I will try to mix it up since not every family will apply to everyone, though there are some interesting characters to read about even if you are not related. So spread the word, bare with me while I get the kinks worked out of the site, and we'll see how this works out.... Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!

- Mike Beatty