JACOB FLORA’S ANCESTRY
|The following article by Tim Flora deals with who Jacob Flora’s real ancestor’s are. Walter Bunderman mistakenly attributed this line to Englehardt Flori. Samuel Weaver, also in Walter Bunderman’s book on the Flory families in America, felt that they derived from a George Flory, who was an immigrant from Wittenberg. Tim’s essay clears up the confusion.|
| A Flora line proves back to Jacob Flora, born February 13, 1771 in Maryland and died October 26, 1843 in Clear Creek Township, Huntington County, Indiana. Jacob’s birth and death dates are known from his headstone in Clear Creek Township Cemetery, Huntington County, Indiana. Jacob’s father was not known, but family tradition said his name was George. The earliest record discovered for Jacob is a deed and mortgage for a tract of land called Hibernia in Woodberry Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Jacob purchased the land from Jacob Puderbaugh, attorney for George Shoop of Green County, Ohio dated November 11, 1808.1 Jacob paid $904 dollars for the land, $300 in cash and financing the balance.2
Jacob’s biographical sketch in Stark County, Ohio3 states: “JACOB FLORA, deceased; one of the early settlers of Pike Tp., was born in Wittenberg, Germany, and emigrated to America when quite young, with his father, George Flora, who assisted in hauling stone for the first Jail in Baltimore.”
A biographical sketch of John F. Farber4, who married Jacob’s granddaughter Harriet, includes this statement: “Jacob Flora, the father of George Flora, was a native of Maryland.”
A biographical sketch of Cornelius Henline5, who married Jacob’s daughter Mary, states: “…daughter of Jacob and Magdalene (Bachtel) Flora, both natives of Maryland, the former of English and the latter of German descent.”
In addition, there are three references to this family all attributable to Samuel E. Weaver, who in the late 1940s researched the Cable Family. They are included in the books of Joel C. Flora6, Walter Q. Bunderman7, and Samuel Weaver8. These all state basically the same: “ A Flora family of German origin came to America from Wittenberg, Germany, early in the eighteenth century. Note (6th generation descendants report that George Flora and his brother came to Baltimore, Md., in 1792). George Flora and his brother settled near Baltimore Md. Soon after coming to America one brother died leaving George to carry the family name.” These sketches also include the story of hauling stone for the jail and state that late in his life George was a shoemaker living near Hagerstown, Maryland. Samuel Weaver was raised in Ohio with the children of Jacob and Lucinda (McFarland) Flora. From the text of the Stark County Biography3 it is probable that Jacob and Lucinda were the source of the information, so it is not surprising that the accounts should be similar.
There is another reference to this family in Bunderman9. He attributes this information to Mrs. Glenn Welty Berry, Onawa, Iowa. The wills referenced there will be discussed in detail later, but suffice it to say there are some misinterpretations. Additionally, Bunderman never explains how he decides Jacob was the son of John Jacob Flora, son of Engelhard Flori. Mrs. Berry is descended from John Flora, Junior and Susanna E. (Hunt) Flora.
Jacob’s wife Magdalene was the daughter of John Jacob and Catherine (Letch) Bachtel10. In 1800, about the time Jacob and Magdalene were married since their oldest child was born in 1801, the Bachtels were living in Washington County, Maryland. In the U. S. Census entries where Jacob’s children list the state in which they were born, the four oldest all claim Maryland.
Jacob does not appear in the U. S. census until 1820 in Stark County, Ohio. He should have been listed in 1810 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Families number 135 through 215 are missing in Woodberry Township.
On March 29, 1775 a John Flora purchased Owl’s Hollow and Farewell Owl from Frederick Leatherman11. The Oaths of Allegiance for 1777-8 listed John Flora12. In 1783 John Flora was assessed for 2 horses and 5 black cattle13. Then on March 22, 1786 John and Mary Flora sold Owl’s Hollow and Farewell Owl to Isaac Tooble14 and on November 10 of that year bought four tracts totaling 183 acres from Thomas Elder15. In 1790 John Flora is listed in the Frederick County enumeration as having a family of 2 males 16 and upward, 2 males under 16, and 5 females. On November 14, 1792 John Flora is granted a land patent for 250 acres named Forrest’s Purchase16, which he sells along with the adjoining four tracts17. On December 6, 1793 John Flora, tanner, purchases Resurvey on Sarah’s Delight from Daniel Hughes18. From Daniel Hughes on September 21, 1803 he purchases a part of Wilkes and Liberty Resurveyed19.
John Flora’s will was written July 28, 1809and recorded June 20, 181020. In it he leaves to his wife, Mary, 50 pounds; to his son Jacob, 50 pounds; to his granddaughter, daughter of son George, deceased, 25 pounds; withholding the land all livestock, household and kitchen appliances to be sold and divided among children Catherine, Mary, John, Elizabeth, and Nancy; the plantation to be sold after the expiration of the 4 years rental to Andrew Hutcheson except for 1/4 acre east of the front door for a public burying ground. A second will was written February 11, 1810 and recorded March 10, 181021. In this will he left to Elizabeth Andress, daughter of Eve Andress, 25 pounds; the rest to be divided amongst his children Jacob, John, Mary, Catherine, Nancy, Elizabeth; Jacob has had 300 pounds; John has had 100 pounds.
On May 2, 1811 John McKean(McKain) and wife Elizabeth (Flora), Nancy Flora, Patrick McKiernan and wife Mary (Flora), Andrew Hutcheson and wife Catherine (Flora), John Flora and Susanna Flora, heirs of John Flora sold part of Wilkes and Liberty Resurveyed to Conrad Mentzer22.
There is a marriage recorded in Washington County in March 1798 between George Flora and Eve Enderson23. A marriage is recorded for John Flora Jr. and Susanna E. Hunt September 5, 180724. It is probable that the granddaughter mentioned in the first will is Elizabeth Andress mentioned in the second will. It also is likely that John’s wife Mary had pre-deceased him.
There is a marriage recorded in Baltimore on December 26, 1769 between John Conrad Flory and Anna Marie Segesterin25. Thomas Scharf dates the start of construction on the Baltimore City jail at 176726. If John Flora as a young man had gone to Baltimore to work, this marriage would fit temporally with Jacob’s birth. The land records show John lived near Hagerstown from 1775 until his death in 1810. No cemetery records exist for John, Mary, or George but they were probably buried in the above-mentioned cemetery on John’s plantation.
It is probable that the sources of the biographies confused Jacob’s brother George with his father John. It is also probable that the father’s emigration from Wittenburg, Germany is misremembered. An examination of the 1850 U. S. census for Stark County Ohio shows that there was a sizable population of Germans living there who all listed Wittenburg as their place of birth. In 1862 Harrison Flora enlisted in the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment raised mostly in Stark County that was also known as the Ninth German Regiment. The Floras had strong ties with German families through marriage and church membership. Frank Flora’s son Franklin remembered his father saying that German was spoken in the home during his father Harrison’s boyhood.
Jacob’s daughter Mary’s statement that her father’s family was of English descent is more likely true. This ties in nicely with the work of Donson and Athy on the family of Thomas Flora27. They make a case for John Flora being one of Thomas’ sons. There is a preponderance of evidence that Jacob is the son of John Flora and that John probably was a son of Thomas.
1. Bedford County Deed Book G, pages 702-3.
2. Bedford County Deed Book G, pages 666-8.
3. History of Stark County with an Outline Sketch of Ohio, edited by William Henry Perrin, Baskin & Battey, Historical Publishers, Chicago, 1881, page 854.
4. Commemorative Biographical Record Carroll, Ohio, J. H. Beers’ & Co., Chicago, 1891, page 1013.
5. History of Huntington County, 1881, page 583.
6. A Genealogy and History of Descendants of Jacob Flora Senior of Franklin County, Virginia, Joel Cephas Flora, Church Center Press, Dayton, Ohio, 1951, page 361.
7. Flory Flora Fleury Family History 1948, Walter Q. Bunderman, second printing, Reading Eagle Press, Reading, Pennsylvania, 1971, page 266.
8. Cable Family History, manuscript by Samuel E. Weaver, in the collections of the Stark County Ohio Public Library and the Fort Wayne Indiana Public Library.
9. Flory Flora Fleury Family History 1948, Walter Q. Bunderman, second printing, Reading Eagle Press, Reading, Pennsylvania, 1971, pages 260-4.
10. Bachtel Family Bible, in the collection of the Washington County Historical Society, Hagerstown, Maryland.
11. Frederick County, Maryland Deed Book BD-1, page 420.
12. 9000 Men Who Took the Oath of Allegiance, Carrothers, vol. 1, page 24; 54
13. Assessments of 1783, Washington County, Maryland Fort Frederick Hundred page 51
14. Frederick County, Maryland Deed Book WR-6, page 373
15. Frederick County, Maryland Deed Book WR-11, page 189