Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Aaron Purdy Lures Uncle Jesse Morgan to Ohio

When we last saw Mary Bassett, she was settling the affairs of her first husband, Asahel Platt with the help of her new husband, Jesse Morgan. My 2nd great-grandmother, she had married a much-older Mr. Platt when she was only nineteen, hoping for stability after her mother died. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way she had hoped, and he died just a few years after they married. Read Mary’s story here.

What is the Question?

Family letters that Mary and her daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand daughter saved, are helping me learn more about Mary and particularly about her somewhat elusive second husband, Jesse Morgan. One of my quests is to figure out why Jesse Morgan wound up in the little town of Killbuck, Ohio.

I had long assumed that Jesse was born in New York because of this letter that he received addressed to New York.  But he probably was born in eastern Pennsylvania, where his father, Jesse Sr. moved from Connecticut. However, after the Jesse that became my 2nd great grandfather married his first wife, they moved to New York, because two daughters, and possibly two earlier sons were born there.  In 1835 when he received the letter, he had a three-month-old daughter, plus the older children, but he moved the family to Killbuck before 1938 when his third son was born.  His wife died,probably when that child was born.

The evidence is fairly strong that the letter he received in 1835 was influential in convincing him to move. He probably was a private school teacher, and might have wound up in Killbuck because there was  a need for a teacher.

What to Look For in the Letter

  • Aaron’s focus on the value of farm produce,
  • a lot of family gossip–which is invaluable to the family researcher,
  • a revealing couple of paragraphs pointing out the strong prejudices against German immigrants in the early 19th century. (I wrote about that anti-immigrant feeling in the late 18th century here.)
  • His sales pitch to Jesse to come to Ohio, appealing to the sense of adventure and novelty.

Note: As with the previous letter I shared, I have added paragraphs and punctuation. However, I have left Aaron Purdy’s very original spelling alone.

July 21st 1835

Folded with Address on the outside; from Clark’s Ohio

August 7th
Mr. Jessee Morgan

To: Volucia,Chautauqua Co., New York

Dear uncle I take this opertunity to inform you that we are all well at present and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same. I have just been perusing the last leter we had from you dated the 3rd of July 1833. We have not had any letter from you since but I think that father has wrote one since he received it. We hear from you by some one that moved from there and we only believe that you are still alive.
We just received a leter from Matilda [Morgan Howard] which was bad news to us. She writes that her oldest dauter is dead and the rest of them has been very sick. Towner Savage [Aaron Purdy’s borther in law] has had two shocks of the palsy [strokes] and is not able to do any hard laborer. We expect them here next summer. [Matilda and Towner Savage live in Oregon Territory] We have such bad news of the western country I think that we will be satisfied whare we are. I am now akeeping a store of my own on Dowdys fork, Mechanick[Mechanic] Township, homes county[ Holmes County, Ohio] I commenced the 18th of April. God only knows how I shal get along. I am aselling goods very fast.
(back of first page)

Wheat has been a beter price this Spring than it was even more before from 100 to 100.20

on the ___________ (?) which is not very far from us. Every thing that we have to sell we can get the cash for it and thare is no lack of it neither – corn 50c oats 31c and 37c. Some of our ole neibours were back to Pensylvania this Spring and it does us good to hear that old town says that we can raise wheat here and send it thare cheaper than they can aford to raise it thare.
I must tell you something of our prosperity. I have 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, all healthy enough. Sally [Sister of Jesse Morgan] is married to George Bucklew and he is a brother to my wife [Belinda Bucklew] and if you call her duch [Dutch, meaning German] you may gess what he is and how well they are liked in this country.

I am sorry to hear of George [Jesse’s brother’s first wife died, and he married a second time. His second wife died in 1834.] having such misfortune in choosing a companion.  If it be true to have the bad luck to meet with a dville instead of a friend, we only have it from hearsay.

I want you to writ to me as soon as you can I think of enough to fill a sheet, and if you can’t think of enough perhaps some of uncle family can fill it with something interesting. I should like to know what you are all occupiing and how you
(2nd page)
you are ageting along. I want you to tell me the prices of your markets of catle, sheep, horses, wheat of which we have a plenty of here. I should be glad to See you here if you could come. I supose it would be more satisfaction from you to come here than for me to come there. I supose I have a beter idea of that county than you have of this.

I don’t know as I have much more to write at present only for some apologies made in your laste leter respecting some of the duch. I know I hope that you wont think any the less of me [or] Sally for choosing our companions because they are reported to be duch nor of us if we were as duch as the devil.

You must excuse me for not writing sooner and something more entertaining for I have so mutch to do behind this desk that I can’t think of mutch at this time
Yours with Respect, Aaron Purdy

The Family

The letter writer, Aaron Purdy, is the son of Jesse’s sister Hannah Morgan and her husband Isaac Purdy, who had moved to Ohio after they married–the only one of Jesse’s siblings to leave Pennsylvania. Aaron is married to Belinda Bucklew. Despite his enthusiasm for Ohio, he and his wife will eventually move to Oregon territory.

Sarah Morgan, who married George Bucklew, is the sister of Jesse Morgan. Her husband George is the brother of Belinda Bucklew Purdy.

Matilda Morgan Howard, Jesse’s older sister, has death and illness in her family.

Towner Savage, as described in the letter above, is the husband of Aaron Purdy’s sister, one of the many Purdys who move to Oregon Territory. (Her name was also Matilda. This family was one where they reused the names of sisters and brothers quite often).

George, Jesse’s brother lost two wives, probably dying in childbirth. The second would have died a few months before this letter was written. I believe the reference to “some of Uncle family,” has to refer to George as well.

Reading Aaron’s letter to his uncle has given me an enormous amount of information, and I believe has indicated an answer to my question about why Jesse moved to Ohio.


Abraham Brink (1780)–The Story

NOTE:  Some readers of Ancestors in Aprons just want to hear the story. That is what you will find here. Some like to hear about the research. That is covered in a separate post.  If you want the details, read this.

Abraham/Abram, Brink 1780-1853

When Abraham Brink (1780) and his adult children decided to relocate to Ohio in the mid 1830s, they were part of an enormous wave of people heading westward.  Ohio’s population tripled between 1820 and 1840. By contrast, it only increased by about 50 percent from 1840 to 1860. This huge influx was due to several factors.  The Indian wars had ended, the federal government was selling military reserve land, and roads, canals and railroads were entering the new state.

Born in Dutch Country

Abraham Brink (1780) was born around Bushkill, Pennsylvania.  He was born after the Revolutionary War, but before the United States Constitution was adopted in 1787, so county lines, and even state lines, were in flux.  His part of Pennsylvania, divided from New Jersey by the Delaware River, had been part of the colony of Virginia, and as his family went about their daily business, their land changed to Pennsylvania and their county, first Northampton and then Wayne, later became Pike.

Abraham, in later years, said he was born in New Jersey, but because his children were all born in Pennsylvania, they reported that he was born in that state, too.  All in all, a confusion of place dominates the Brink family story.

The area where he lived– from southern New York along the Catskill Mountains, northwestern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania– had been settled mainly by Dutch families spreading out from New Amsterdam (New York).

Moving West

Like so many early American families, the Brinks felt hemmed in by too many neighbors. After marrying, Abraham moved slightly north to Dyberry, the county seat of Wayne County, Pennsylvania.  This article points out the pleasures of that corner of Pennsylvania today, and a bit of its history when its economy was fueled by coal and a canal.

When Abraham they were in their late teens (16-18 years old) he married a woman named Lucinda and they had at least eleven children between 1800 and 1824.

  • Jesse R. (Runnels) Brink (B. About 1797. Died after 1853)
  • Martha (will specifies she is oldest daughter, and says “or heirs” Born about 1800. Died after 1853) No last name is given. Perhaps not married in 1853.
  • Mordecai Brink (1809-1863) There are many records confirming Mordecai’s information).
  • Abraham Brink (1820-1892)–This is Abraham W., my great-great-great grandfather. Many records.
  • George B. Brink (B. 1802-died after 1853)–Many records available.
  • Sarah (Brink) Shanyan(?) (died after 1853)
  • Lucy (Brink) Nagley (B. 1803, died after 1853)
  • Polly (Brink) Given Will specifies “heirs” (1805-1850)
  • Lucretia (Brink) Riplogle (B. 1814- 1891) Many records available. Lived in Michigan.
  • Roxy (Brink) Chapman (B. 1819–1898) Many records.
  • John E. Brink (1824-) Will specifies, “youngest son.” Many records.Lived in Michigan after father’s death.
  • There may be other children who died in infancy or childhood.


The family lived in Dyberry through at least 1830, despite reports on family trees that some of his children were born in other counties. In that decade, Abraham developed an itch to move further west. The new state of Ohio was calling.

Buying Land

After the Revolutionary War, the government set aside land in Ohio Territory to give to men who had fought in the army.  Those lands that were not used for that purpose, a Military District, were sold to settlers moving west into Ohio.

Abraham had apparently saved up money or was able to sell valuable land, because he bought four 40-acre parcels of land in Holmes County, Ohio, for which he would have paid $1.25 per acre.  Another two parcels were bought in the name of his son Mordecai, who would have been about 26 at the time.  All purchases were in the same section of land.

These purchases took place between 1835 and 1838 and by 1840, the family was settled in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio, with son Mordecai’s family living on an adjoining farm. Abraham’s wife Lucinda does not show up on the 1840 census, probably only Abraham W. and John, the youngest, are still at home. His oldest son, Jesse, originally settled in Richland Township, a neighboring area, but by 1850, he also was living near the other Brinks.

The daughters would have been old enough to be married by 1840. The 1840 census also shows two children between 10 and 14 that could be children who later died, or children of his older daughters who were living with their grandfather.

Deaths in the Family and Abraham’s Will

Tombstone of Lucinda Brink

Lucinda wife of Abram Brink

After Lucinda’s death ( in 1846 according to her tombstone at the Wolf Creek Cemetery in Holmes County) Abraham continued to live with his younger son John, even after John married in 1848.

Abraham Brink Will

Abraham Brink the elder Will.

When Abraham Brink (1780) drafted his will in August 1853, it shows a man who had a substantial farm, and had plowed most of his money back into the land.  The property was all left to his son John who had cared for him in his later years, and the children received $5 each, except for two George Brink and Sarah S____ who received $20 each. It is an intriguing discrepancy that I may never be able to explain. I do know that George, unlike most of the family, was not a farmer. He was a shoemaker, who lives in a different county in each census year.

Abraham died in the month after he wrote his will and was buried at Wolf Creek Cemetery near his wife Lucinda.

The Wanderlust Continues

While many of the family members continued to live close together in Killbuck Township, others migrated further west to Iowa and Michigan.  Even John Elisha Brink, who inherited the farm, moved to Michigan, apparently to be with a son who died at the young age of 39 of “dropsey.” (Accumulated fluid in tissues–perhaps congestive heart disease).

Puzzle Pieces Still Missing

The story of Abraham Brink is not complete with his death. I am still missing a few important details.

  • Most important,  I have not yet been able to prove for sure how many generations of Brinks he represents in North America.  Perhaps he belongs to the line of Brinks that stretch back to a couple years after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. If so, move over PiIgrim father William Bassett, my family has another early pioneer.
  • Although there are numerous pay stubs for a soldier in the War of 1812 named Abraham Brink, enlisted in New York, I do not know if that is THIS Abraham.
  • And who was Lucinda, my 3rd great grandmother, and where did she come from?
  • Most important of all, Abraham–Who was your Daddy??

If you want to know more details about the research behind this story, you can read the separate post dedicated to that research. (The usual notes on research can be found there, too.)

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
  • Mary Brink (Anderson), who is the daughter of
  • Abraham W. Brink, who is the son of
  • Abraham Brink (the Elder).

Alexander Cochran Arrives in Guernsey County

Although I have not found the first Cochran to immigrate to North America, I do know which Cochran was the first to arrive in Guernsey County, Ohio.

Alexander Cochran (1765-1851)

My great-grandfather’s great-grandfather (in other words, my 4th great-grandfather), Alexander Cochran, was born just after the Civil War in Pennsylvania.

According to family history, related in The Identity of William Cochran, Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties 1777-1783, Alexander was born to William Cochran (b. 1772) near Fort Pitt, the fort that preceded the settlement of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 1781 and 1782 he served in the Washington County, Pennsylvania militia.

Alex married Sarah or Mary Adams in 1787 with the Presbyterian minister Reverend John McMillan presiding. He and his wife first lived near Hickory, Pennsylvania.

Alex and his wife moved with their family of six children to Belmont County Ohio. Accounts vary as to when they relocated–from 1798 to 1802. The area the family moved in to was close to the western edge of Belmont County. On the east side, Belmont runs along the Ohio River. In 1810, Guernsey County was created, including the far western part of Belmont and the family became residents of the new county (without moving).  Thus, Guernsey County histories consider them to be early pioneers of Guernsey County.

The first map below shows the 1801 shape of Ohio Counties (WA=Washington and BE= Belmont, the two from which Guernsey was created.)

County Map of Ohio 1801

1801 State and County Map of Ohio . Click to go to source web site.

This is a current map of Ohio counties.

Guernsey County

Ohio County Map


Alexander Cochran map

Map of Alexander Cochran homes in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Alexander’s son William (my 3rd great-grandfather) was one of six children born in Pennsylvania, although the last of those might have died before they moved to Ohio.  Alexander had six or seven more children after leaving Pennsylvania.

The 1878 obituary of Alexander’s son William (known as Col. William Cochran) vividly describes the Ohio Territory that Alexander moved his family to around the beginning of the 19th century. Even allowing for the romanticization of pioneer days that was rampant in the late 1800’s, this reminds you of the challenge these early settlers undertook.

…came with his father’s family to the territory now embraced within the limits of Guernsey county, about the year 1802, and a little while before the organization of the State of Ohio, from the North-West Territory of land ceded by Virginia to the general government.  The first settlement of the family was made upon the land embraced in the Carlisle possessions near the Salt Works on the National road, between Washington and Middlebourne  His father located there when the region was an unbroken forest, no other “clearing” being then within several miles of him.  Afterward they moved a few miles eastward up the Salt Fork on Wills Creek upon land which remained in the family until a very few years ago…He [Alexander’s son]  grew up with and noted the coming of people into [the county] and watched its growth and development, and lived to see the territory it then embraced rise from a mere handful of persons to a population of thirty-thousand souls, and from a wilderness of woods and swamps to a region filled with farms and dotted with twenty towns.

Alex would have seen this amazing growth and change also. It appears that he left Pennsylvania very shortly before his father died, so in addition to the challenge of breaking into new territory, he was separated from his immediate family.  But not from Cochrans in general. They were thick on the ground in Ohio and neighboring states. Alex and his wife had many children–one of whom would be my 3rd great grandfather. I am lacking the most basic information about most of those children. The six born in Pennsylvania:

  • Alyzannah, born in 1790 married John Ables in 1813 and eventually moved to Iowa.
  • Katherine, unknown birth date, married John Messel.
  • William, born in 1793 married Martha Henderson. He was my 3rd great grandfather.
  • Jacob, [UPDATE 8/2017]1797-1863, married Elizabeth Shuman
  • Rebecca, unknown birth date, married Samuel Anderson
  • Jane Morrow, born in 1800, was the second wife of General R. E. Moore, and they lived in California. (More to come on this fascinating couple)

After the move to Ohio, these are the possible additional children (I will add information as I find it.)

  • John Clark, born in 1802
  • Alexander, born in 1805
  • James, died as a child
  • Brice
  • Mary Ann
  • Hanson

Alexander’s first wife died in 1820 and he remarried a woman named Henson, whose first name has not been discovered.  They had one child:

  • Matilda, born 1825, married to Cornelius Dillahey and they lived in Cambridge, Guernsey County, Ohio.

In 1850, Alex is reported living with Cornelius and Matilda Dillahey and their children in Middletown (Middleborough on the map above), Guernsey County, Ohio. The 1850 census does not specify relationships to head of household, but Matilda must have been Alex’s daughter. The age reported for him is ninety, which would mean he was born in 1760 instead of 1765. More likely, everyone had lost track of how old he was.

There is no trace of a gravestone for Alexander Cochran.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most of what I am writing about the Cochrans relies on 2nd hand reports and family history and on some assumptions (by guess and by golly). I cannot thank enough the distant cousin who contacted me with much of his own and George Williston’s past research. As I discover more concrete information, I will revise these entries.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • William Cochran Stout, who is the son of
  • Emeline Cochran Stout, who is the daughter of
  • Col. William Cochran, who is the son of
  • Alexander Cochran

Notes on Research

The Identity of William Cochran, Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties 1777-1783. by George Williston. Circa 1999.  Paper e-mailed to me by Tom Fowler.

Some relevant footnotes from that paper:

United States Federal Census, 1850, Cambridge, Guernsey, Ohio for Alexander and Matilda. From Ancestry.com

U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, Entry Date:10 Oct 1832, Alexander Cochran