Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is He or Isn't He?

The question being, is Jacob Switzer #2 a son of Jacob Switzer #1 and his wife Elizabeth?

Jacob #1 did not leave a will nor was there a probate file found for him, thus we do not know with any certainty at this time who his children were, which was discussed in this post.

There is only circumstantial evidence that might connect them, and, to be honest, rather flimsy evidence at that!


When were they in Columbiana County and where did they live?

Jacob #2 born January 4, 1788 was married on February 26, 1811 in Columbiana County to Caty Brinker. He was 23 years old at the time. He initially lived in Fairfield Township on the land inherited by his wife Catherine from her father Andrew Brinker. In 1838 they purchased land in section 33 of Salem Township and they were living there in the 1840 census. This land was not far from where Jacob #1 and Elizabeth Switzer lived in section 23, also in Salem Township. Jacob #2 easily “fits” in as one of the older children of Jacob and Elizabeth, who were reportedly married on February 19, 1786. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, reportedly born on December 25, 1786 so it is possible that Jacob #2 could be their second child.

But then, so could Jacob #4 who was born November 8, 1788. However, he does not appear in Columbiana County census records until 1830. He is listed in Fairfield Township from 1830 through 1850 where he presumably lived until his death on March 25, 1859. He was already married to his wife Catharine when he arrived in Columbiana County. Yes, he was born the same year and died the same year as Jacob #2, and they both had wives named Catharine.

Then there is Jacob #3 born December 25, 1794 who arrived in Columbiana County about 1815. He was 21 years old when he married Polly Skelton on January 16, 1816 in Columbiana County. In 1824 they sold their land and moved to what later became Ashland County, Ohio. So he was only in Columbiana County a few years, about 1815-1824.

So far, no evidence except that Jacob #2 was in Columbiana County earlier than the other two and he lived closer to Jacob #1 than the others.


Well, what about naming patterns of their children?

The first two daughters of Jacob #2 were named Barbara and Elizabeth. Barbara was presumably named after Catherine's mother, Barbara Leatherman. Could Elizabeth have been named after her “grandmother” Elizabeth, wife of Jacob #1 ? Or was this merely coincidence? The other three known daughters of Jacob #2 were Rebecca, Susan, and Sarah.

Neither of the other two Jacob Switzers have a daughter named Elizabeth. At least, not that we know of anyway.
  • Known children of Jacob #3 were John, William, Nancy, Margaret, and Lewis.
  • Children known of Jacob #4 were Ann, Sophia, Benjamin, Lydia, Eliza, and Susan.

What does the term “Junior” really mean?

On page 133 of the 1828 Ohio Tax Records for Chattels (i. e., personal property) is an entry for a Jacob Switzer and Jacob Switzer (indexed as Junior). The first one listed appears to have an “S” after his name (first line in image). But I can't figure out what it is after the second Jacob Switzer (at the bottom of the image). In any case, in 1828 there were only two Jacob Switzers known to be in Columbiana County – Jacob #1 and Jacob #2.

Also, in his will, Andrew Brinker refers to the husband of his daughter Catharine as Jacob Sweitzer Jr.

Of course, back in the day, “Junior” sometimes simply indicated a younger man with the same name. It didn't necessarily mean that “Junior” was the son of the elder man.


And that leaves us with what? Not much, I'm afraid. Mostly wishful thinking on my part. Obviously, a whole lot more research will be needed before I can claim Jacob #1 and his wife Elizabeth - if ever - as ancestors! At this point, I guess I'm “beating a dead horse” as the saying goes, rehashing the same information over and over.

So, for now, this concludes the saga of my research on the Switzer families of Columbiana County, Ohio.... until something new shows up!

All posts related to the Switzer families are summarized in this Index to Posts. If anyone doing research on these families is interested in collaborating, please contact me at - Jacob #2 and his wife Catharine are my 4th great-grandparents.

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