Sunday, July 31, 2011

Not One, Not Two, Not Three, but Four of Them!

My apologies in advance. This is going to be a very long post. I thought about making it into four separate posts but the information seemed “fractured” that way. It has helped me to compile this “report” and to see all of the information together in one spot. It is my hope that it may help others in sorting out the Switzer families of Columbiana County. If you are a descendant of any of these fellows, please contact me at and let me know how you are related. I'd love to hear from you, especially if you have any documentation to prove or disprove my theories.

In my previous post The Three Jacob Switzers I identified three men by the name of Jacob Switzer who lived in Columbiana County, Ohio at the same time. I was having a bit of a problem deciphering the census records for 1820, 1830 and 1840 as they didn't seem to make sense in regards to what little information I had. It appeared that families were being enumerated in townships that were different from where their land was located – and they were! The Ohio Tax Lists added somewhat to my confusion. As it turns out there were actually FOUR Jacob Switzers in the county but only three living there at any one time during those years.

A “breakthrough” of sorts came with an application for First Families of Ohio on Jacob Switzer who married Polly (Mary) Skelton and also with the Estate File of the “other” Jacob who was the same age as “my” Jacob.

As a recap, with corrections, and adding the fourth Jacob (he's actually #3), here are the “players” involved.
  1. Jacob Switzer, born February 28, 1761 and died October 27, 1841. His wife was named Elizabeth (maiden name possibly Hoke and possibly married February 19, 1786).
  2. Jacob Switzer, born January 4, 1788 and died November 2, 1859. He married Catherine “Caty” Brinker on February 26, 1811. [This is my family. I am descended through their daughter Elizabeth who married Jacob Yarian.]
  3. Jacob Switzer, born December 25, 1794 and died August 29, 1849. He married Polly Skelton January 11, 1816. He is in Columbiana County by 1817 and is gone by 1830.
  4. Jacob Switzer, born November 8, 1788 and died March 25, 1859. His wife was Catharina Mummert. He appears in Columbiana County in 1830.

The Ohio Tax Lists for 1816-1838 at FamilySearch were downloaded and compiled into a spreadsheet. (In the land description, R=Range, T=Township, S=Section.) It should be noted that the spelling of the surname in these records was usually Switzer, but occasionally Switser or Schwitzer.

The Tax Lists were then compared to the Deed Records and abstractions that I obtained in June while at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City as well as some Deed Records that were viewed and abstracted earlier this month at the Recorders Office in Lisbon, Ohio.

Comparing the information from the Tax Lists, Deed Records, and Census Records I came up with some semblance of an idea of who lived where and the makeup of their respective families. In three out of four cases, Deed Records and Estate Records were instrumental in the identification of family members, though not necessarily all of their family members. For various reasons, for this initial analysis, I chose not to rely on the various online family trees for these families, especially those for the elder Jacob Switzer, which are numerous and for the most part sourceless.


From 1816-1831 Jacob Switzer (#1) was taxed on 156 acres in the NE ¼ R3 T15 S25 (Salem Twp). Patent Certificate 883 was issued to Jacob Switzer of Jefferson County, Ohio for this land in 1804. The final certificate number 1976 was issued in 1808. In 1832 this land was sold by Jacob and Elizabeth to Daniel Switzer, presumed to be a son, with provisions, which were quite interesting. I may have a future post on that transaction.

Jacob and Elizabeth had another parcel of 20 acres in the SW ¼ of R3 T15 S23 (Salem Twp) which they purchased in 1812 from Baltzer Kulp and sold in 1820 to John Pepple.

Census records show that Jacob and Elizabeth lived in Salem Township.
  • 1820 p65: Jacob Switzer with one male 16-25, one male 45 and over, one female 10-15, two females 16-25, one female 26-44 and one female 45 and over.
  • 1830 p435: Jacob Swetser with one male 60-69, one female 40-49, one female 60-69
  • 1840 p116: Jacob Switzer with one male 70-79 and one female 70-79
Making the assumption that all those listed are children of Jacob and Elizabeth, their family may have included, among others (keep in mind they were reportedly married in 1786, and if so, there are likely more children):
  • one male born 1795-1804
  • one female 1805-1810
  • two females 1795-1804
  • one female 1776-1794
  • one female 1781-1790

From 1820-1838 Jacob Switzer (#2) was taxed on 213 acres of land in the SE ¼ of R2 T12 S12 (Fairfield Twp). This was the land that Jacob's wife Catherine inherited from her father, Andrew Brinker, who was the original proprietor. As I understand it, Andrew had deeded this land, as well as various lands to his other children, some years before his death as mentioned in his will. Numerous Quit Claim deeds were recorded in 1832 between and to each of the heirs. (Yes, future posts!) Jacob and Catherine owned this land until 1849 when they sold it to Thomas McCoy.

Apparently, Jacob and Catherine did not live on the land in Fairfield Township the entire time until it was sold. In 1838 they purchased 80 acres in the south half of the NE ¼ of R3 T15 S33 (Salem Twp) from John Froth. They sold the Salem Township land to their son-in-law Daniel Deemer in 1847, with specific provisions and a little twist, which will of course be the subject of a future post.

The final account found in Jacob's probate file listed four daughters as heirs. Biographies of several family members indicated that Jacob and Catharine did not have any sons. Based on that premise, I believe this family in 1820 in Centre Township (p83) is the right family. I have no idea why they would be listed in Centre Township but Andrew Brinker (Jacob's father-in-law) was also enumerated there on the last line of the previous page and his lands were also in Fairfield Township. It's possible that he also owned land in Centre Township but I haven't reviewed his records yet.
  • Jacob Switzer with one male 26-44, three females under 10, and one female 26-44.
Even though there is a male age 20-29 included in this family in 1830 in Fairfield Township (p345) I'm pretty sure it is the family of Jacob #2. The 20-29 year old male is most likely a hired hand or other relative, possibly even a brother.
  • Indexed as Jacob Smither with a correction to Jacob Switzer: one male 20-29, one male 40-49, one female under 5, one female 5-9, two females 10-14, one female 15-19, and one female 40-49
The 1840 (p118) and 1850 (p14) census records show the family residing in Salem Township, probably on the land that was purchased in 1838.
  • 1840: Jacob Switzer with one male 50-59, one female 10-14, one female 15-19, and one female 50-59
  • 1850: Jacob Switzer, 65, Farmer, Real Estate valued at $1700, born Pa. with Catharine A. Switzer, 65, born Pa. [Note: The Daniel Deemer family is listed immediately following Jacob.]
Again, disregarding that one male age 20-29 in 1830, the family of Jacob and Catherine (Brinker) Switzer seems to have consisted of:
  • one female 1826-1830 [Susan born abt 1826]
  • one female 1821-1825 [Sarah born 1823 and died 1842]
  • two females 1816-1820 [Elizabeth born September 1815 and Rebecca born abt 1820]
  • one female 1811-1815 [Barbara born abt 1814]

In the 1819 Tax List, Jacob Switzer (#3) is taxed on 50 acres in the SE ¼ of R5 T16 S14 (West Twp). He purchased the land in 1817. In 1824 Jacob Switzer and Polly, his wife, sold the land. I have no idea why he is in the tax lists only in the year 1819. The deed for this transaction was included in the First Families of Ohio application along with information that stated that Jacob came to Ohio in 1815. After selling the land in Columbiana County, Jacob and Polly moved to Wayne County, Ohio and settled in Orange Township, which became part of Richland County which later became part of Ashland County.

Although enumerated in Fairfield Township in 1820 (p62) I believe that this is Jacob and Polly Switzer, even though their land was located in West Township. The family makeup more closely resembles what was found in the First Families of Ohio application.
  • Jacob Switzer with one male under 10, one male 26-44, two females under 10, and one female 26-44. There was also one Foreigner not naturalized.

Jacob Switzer (#2 or #4 ?) was taxed on 80 acres in the W ½ of the SW ¼ of R2 T12 S16 (Fairfield Twp) from 1830 to 1838. Jacob was issued a Patent in 1833 from the state of Ohio (given the year it was probably the date the final certificate was issued). I did not find a record of the sale of this land in the grantor index going up to the year 1897, therefore I cannot conclusively state which Jacob owned this land. And even if I had found a record of the sale by Jacob I may not have been able to determine which one it was – they both had a wife named Catherine!

Above is a portion of the image from the 1837 Property Tax List for Fairfield Township, Columbiana County, Ohio. It shows two listings for Jacob Switzer (2nd and 3rd from the bottom) with the second entry being “Do” for ditto. I know for sure that the 213 acres in R2 T12 S12 was owned by “my” Jacob (#2). If I'm reading this correctly (and I could be wrong), the 3rd column from the right indicates that there was a house on the property in Section 12, while there was none on the 79 acres in Section 16.

In the years 1830-1838 the tax lists show the two properties on the same page usually consecutively as shown above and in each case there is no value in that column 3rd from the right.

This is the upper half of the 1841 Atlas (referenced below) that shows “Switzer” in Section 12 (to the right of the “2” in 12 on the right side of the map) and “J.S.” in Section 16 (above and to the left of the “R” in Fairfield).

If Section 16 was also owned by Jacob #2, then where was the land located that was owned by Jacob #4? He obviously had land somewhere... the 1850 census (see below) shows that he had Real Estate valued at $2400 while Jacob #2 had Real Estate valued at $1700. The land records noted thus far are the only ones I found for “Jacob Switzer” during this time period.

The “Combined Atlas of Columbiana County 1841-1860” published by the Columbiana County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society in 1984 (compiled from previously published works) shows that in 1861 the 79 acres in the W ½ of the SW ¼ of Section 16 were owned by “Keyser.” Obviously, I've got a little more work to do in regards to this land.


Jacob Switzer #4 did not show up in Columbiana County until 1830 and then he is listed in the census records for Fairfield Township from 1830 through 1850.
  • 1830 (p353): Jacob Switzer with one male under 5, two males 5-9, two males 10-14, one male 40-49, two females under 5, one female 5-9, one female 10-14, one female 15-19, and one female 40-49
  • 1840 (p229): Jacob Switzer with one male 10-14, one male 15-19, one male 50-59, two females 5-9, one female 10-14, one female 15-19, one female 50-59
  • 1850 (family 492): Jacob Switzer, 61, Farmer, Real Estate valued at $2400, born Penn. with Catharine Switzer, 61, born Penn, and Anna, 21, Sophia, 18, and Lydia A., 16, all three born Ohio.
The family of Jacob and Catherina Mummert Switzer seems to have consisted of at least:
  • one male 1826-1830
  • two males 1821-1825
  • two males 1816-1820
  • two females 1826-1830 [Anna born 1829 + one other]
  • one female 1821-1825 [Sophia born 1822 and Lydia born 1824]
  • one female 1816-1820
  • one female 1811-1815

In addition to the four Jacobs there were other Switzers in the tax lists for Columbiana County: John 1820-1838 with several properties in Elkrun Township, Martin 1829-1838 with various properties in Elkrun, Fairfield and Salem Townships, and Daniel 1830-1838 in Salem Township (the land purchased from Jacob and Elizabeth). They were also recorded in the census records for the county.


Do John, Martin and Daniel fit into the family equation? If so, how? Are they sons of Jacob and Elizabeth?

All three of the younger Jacob Switzers are of the right age to be a son of the elder Jacob and his wife Elizabeth. Is one of them their son? If so, which one?


See Switzer Families :: Index to Posts for additional information on the Switzer Families of Columbiana County, Ohio.


Carol said...

Great job of summarizing a very complicated research situation. CLAP!! CLAP!! CLAP!!

Debra Newton-Carter said...

That was a great post! Reminded me of when I was trying to determine which Isaac Carter was the real one from Craven County, NC serving in the Rev. War (The Case of Too Many Isaacs). But I really like the way you broke down the information...and the use of tax lists & map was great for your area! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the way you organized this post. It's awesome how you took a lot of complex information and made it easy to follow.