Anna Nancy (Metzger) Weible
Whenever I go several days — or in this case, a couple weeks — between posts, I start to get a little squirmy, for want of a better word.
When the tides of the workday deposit me bleary-eyed and brain dead on the couch each night, or the rhythms of family life sweep me up in their dance — and away from hours hunched over the computer — WordPress is there to remind me, with a depressing little graph, of the peaks and valleys in blog readership. Which, as you might guess, have a lot to do with how often — or little — I’m posting.
So, there’s always the chart to pull me back.
But it’s not for a lack of relatives to write about that I take an extended break from posting, every so often. As in the case of the gopher haunting Bushwood Country Club in Caddyshack, you may not see me whenever you happen to look on this site, but it usually means I’m off digging, somewhere else.
The last few weeks have found me hopping from branch to branch — more squirrel than Bill Murray’s animatronic varmint. I’ve been adding more info to siblings and distant relatives on the Foutz side, hoping to score some more old photographs and connections. I’ve also continued mining the Morgan vein, which is yielding its treasure slowly, in the manner of a bottomless Pennsylvania shaft. Recent work has helped me add descendants to Beatrice Morgan’s (you know her better as M.A. Weible) siblings, but I still can’t get back before great-great grandparents Thomas Morgan and Janet (Jeanette) Reese. As noted in their Geni profiles, there is documentation of them coming to the United States in 1870, and getting married in October 1872 in Philadelphia. But I seem to have plenty of company on Ancestry.com among distant relatives who have not even gotten that far.
In the effort to tap into new sources, I started combing through newspapers and books accessible through online databases via various public and university libraries to which I belong. In trying the HeritageQuest books database, I struck out on several Morgan histories so far, but I hit paydirt on the Weibles as far back as our first Weible (or Wible) ancestors in America, who just happened to also help settle Tuscarawas County in the late 18-teens.
The book, by Ella Metsker Milligan, is titled The History of Christian Metzger, Founder of an American Family, published about 1942. The section I was able to access on HeritageQuest is from the second supplement, part two, concerning the families descending from my great-great-great-great grandmother, Nancy Metzger Weible, wife to Hans Jakob Weible.
In keeping with the free access available to much of what has entered the public domain, I tried my luck on Google Books, hoping to download the full volume, which has a detailed history of Nancy and Jacob, but somebody doesn’t quite want that to happen yet. From my research, it seems as though the book was widely distributed, so you can do a quick check to find the closest library that has it (in my case, Chicago’s Newberry Library, downtown). I’ll post what I find soon.
But for now, I was able to grab a bunch of (badly scanned) photos and tidbits about descendants you know very well. Below, I start with Nancy and Jakob, and in the next couple days, I’ll post bio sketches (c. 1949) of Grandma and Grandpa Ley, Uncle Arry, Uncle Bill and a nice fat paragraph on Great-Grandpa R.O. Weible, among others.
Enjoy the fruits of my digging!
An Early Audience with George Washington
Nancy Metzger was born Dec. 2, 1790 in Northampton, Pennsylvania. Though I haven’t verified all of this yet, she was born fifth of ten children.
According to the supplement, “from the beginning… (she) was an attractive, alert child. Short and stocky, with wide-open grey eyes, she was a match for any of her six brothers.”
She was four years old, the supplement reports, when President George Washington honored her family with a visit to their home. “He laid his hand on her head, in departing, and said, ‘Sei ein gutes Kind!’ (Be a good girl.)”
When she was ten, the family began its slow migration south and west, from the Lehigh River Valley through York and Lancaster and then over the Appalachians to their eventual home in Westmoreland County. There, she met Hans Jakob Weible. They married Dec. 2, 1806, when Nancy was a fresh 16. The supplement describes Jakob thus:
Already, at the age of 24, he had crossed the Atlantic from Switzerland. He had not stopped in the great city of Philadelphia… but had gone on to the frontier looking for opportunity. And with his young and spirited wife, he pushed still farther into newer territory, to what is now Tuscarawas county, the most beautiful and most historic spot in Ohio. Here this pair established themselves and helped build a New Philadelphia.
Among Earliest Settlers of T-County
Well, it’s nice to know that I grew up in the most beautiful and historic spot in Ohio, albeit 160 years after Nancy and Jakob arrived. They brought with them in 1817 five children born in Westmoreland County: John, Frederick (my great-great-great grandfather), William, Fanny and Anna. On their homestead in Crooked Run, they were to raise eight more: Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Jacob, Daniel, Henry, George and Mattie.
The old homestead — which had remained in the Weible family for 130 years, as of the supplement’s writing in 1949 — was located about five miles south of present-day Dover and New Philadelphia. According to county records cited by the supplement, before 1812 five families came from western Pennsylvania to settle the region, including Crooked Run. The men included a John Wible, David Thomas and Joseph Shrock. At the time of the supplement, John Wible’s relation to Jakob was not known, but my research has estbalished a Johannes Wible and Ursula Freyberger as parents to Jakob. The Shrock mentioned above is undoubtedly the John Shrock who is father to my great-great-great grandmother, Susanne Shrock, who was born in Ohio and would marry Frederick Weible. In any case, Jakob and Nancy and family arrived on the scene a few years after the original five settlers.
Jakob Weible’s wandering days were not over after settling down in Tuscarawas County. According to the supplement, he was past his 70th birthday when he lit out for St. Louis, “then the booming departure point for the Rocky Mountains.” He was dead before he could contact his family again, and Frederick set out to investigate. As best as our ancestor could put together, the Weible patriarch contracted smallpox while exploring “this seething center of transient men.” Back home, the news rocked the Weible family. Frederick took over the family farm, his oldest brother having already ventured from Tuscarawas County.
Jakob’s descendants picked up where their father’s journeying left off. According to the supplement, within 20 years there were Weibles spread across the continent. His descendants (of Fanny Weible Huffmann) helped found Dover, Illinois, and from there journeyed to the Pacific.
Nancy would spend her waning years with her son Henry’s family in Allen County, Ohio. She died at age 95 near Delphos. She is buried in the Crooked Run Church Cemetery in Tuscarawas County.