Where is Harmonas when we need him?
A compilation of thoughts by Carl English Porter
In a sketch of the family descent to Harry F. Alkire, given in Van Cleafs' History ofPickaway County, Ohio, published ca 1906, the family researcher is delighted to find a great deal about the origins of the Alkire family.
This includes an account of Title, & a Coat Of Arms granted by William of Orange, and recorded at the Hague. The account says the family lived near Arnheim, on the Rhine. Arnheim is in Holland, which agrees with the Hague, and William of Orange was also in Holland.
The sketch also gives us the record of the first generation of our family:
Harmonas (referred to as Almonious) born 1700, married ca 1720 in the South Branch Valley to a Mary Craymore. This couple is reported to have these four children:
William, b. 1724; Deborah, b. 1728; Almonious, b. ca 1730; Sarah, b. ca 1732.
These children were also reported to have been born in the SBV (Valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River).
A similar account was printed in a Circleville newspaper, circa 1910, in a series called: "A Peek at the Past". This account was used to illustrate the descent of Gabriel Alkire, another early researcher.
To this account, we are able to add another child, Margaret, b. ca 1739 (± 3 years), who married ca 1759 to Simon Hornback. This information came through the insistence of Hornback researchers who had a VERY old tradition of it. (but no documentation).
As we begin to check this out, we begin to see many inconsistencies.
To date, no one has been able to locate any of the alleged records at the Hague, and several have looked!
Historians have shown that while white settlement of the SBV began ca 1738, this points away from the children being born there.
No one has asserted that the Alkires' were among the first to settle the area. The first official mention of Harmonas (b. ca 1730) is in a 1752 record in the SBV, and we might suppose that the family had arrived ca. 1750.
Of the first FG, only Harmonas (styled II) and Margaret Hornback have been found in the historical records. After nearly a century of looking, no one has been able to build on this fine foundation so grandly laid!!
That the two girls (Deborah & Sarah) could have disappeared behind their married names would surprise no seasoned researcher, but what about brother William? So far, he has provided a convenient hook on which to hang any unplaced Alkire who happens along. The elusive Philip Alkire, said to be the father of Nicholas Alkire, might have been a son of William. For awhile, I thought that Michael & John might be sons of this William. An entirely fictitious Alexander Alkire has been assigned to this William.
It just doesn't wash!! The name William doesn't show up among the children of these families!!
Most of you have been surprised to find that hundreds of other researchers are looking for Alkire information. I have worked with an earlier army, an army that included giants like James R. Glacking, C.G.; Carl S. Alkire of Texas, G. Don Alkire of Fresno, Ca.; Beverly Long, Rife Tanner Alkire, Conrad Feltner, Mabel Lutz, Ira Dawson Alkire, & hundreds more, most of whom have never seen our Internet project.
Then, along comes JoAnn Roland and tells of the way she found the graves of Harmonas Alkire & Simon Hornback in the Presbyterian Cemetery, at the edge of Paris, Ky. Suddenly we have some documentation for this sibling relationship. Fragile, but not unexpected, so perfectly acceptable. The Simon & Margaret Hornback FG now takes on a new signifigance.
Looking it over reveals NO children named Harmonas!! No gaps in the birth records until after 3 sons have been born. The obvious conclusion is, either Margaret was VERY eccentric, or, her father's name was not Harmonas (or derivative). Historically, in our family, the firstborn son would carry the name of the maternal Grandfather. Not to do so in that era would have been a serious breach of the "norm".
For example, a generation later, Rev. John Alkire would have been named John Patton Alkire.
But the fact that Harmonas & Simon are buried near each other (both having died in 1800), as well as other research, shows that the two families had been together almost their entire lifetimes. And the families continued to migrate together for several more generations as well. For Margaret to have NO children named Harmonas at all, & for Harmonas to have waited until his 11th child before naming a son Harmonas, clearly shows that there is a problem in our thinking that their father's name was Harmonas.
The next question; what was Margaret's fathers' name? John Hornback, b. 1760, Margaret's eldest son, does not appear to have been named after a Hornback ancestor. His paternal grandfather, or great grandfathers were not named John.
Another question on this matter is this: how could the author of the account in Van Cleaf's biographies have known so much about the family, & yet NOT know about Margaret? Or to completely ignore Michael & John, clearly close connections? Could the father of John & Michael have been this same John? I think our ancestors are fairly shouting at us.
Looking on the positive side, sweeping out the elder Harmonas makes it far more likely that John & Michael are true brothers of our Harmonas (b.c.1730). The absence of the name Harmonas among their progeny makes this connection to a father named Harmonas difficult to reconcile as well. It does however, lend support to the possibility that we should be looking for a "John", or derivative. It also means that John Wolfgang /Wolfe Allegeyer may tie in more closely with our group then earlier thought.
Let's look at what I call the "Historical Alkire Family" in the SBV. They include:
1. Harmonas Alkire, b.c. 1733, m. Lydia Patton
2. Margaret Alkire, b.c. 1739, m. Simon Hornbeck
3. Michael Alkire, b.c. 1746, m. Catherine unknown
4. John Alkire, b.c 1750, m. Christina Wolfe (or McCann)
This list is not complete, however, all these people do show up in SBV records, and this is why I refer to them as "Historical Family". Harmonas & Margaret are reported as siblings, and this very old tradition is supported by several pieces of circumstantial evidence. Relationships with the others are not confirmed, & are still in the "speculative" stage right now.
Here are a few considerations:
1. Harmonas b.c. 1733 is the only one known to have descendants named Harmonas.
2. Three of the SBV Group named their eldest son "John"
3. Three of the SBV Group named a son "Michael"
4 John, bc. 1750 did not have a child by either name, but there are gaps in his children's birth records, which indicate we may have missed some.
Relieving ourselves of old mindsets will perhaps help us the most.
Johann Wolfgang Allgeyer is found in Daniel Stoevers' records. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sbresearch/alguirehistory.html
To begin with, his father's name was Michael. He had a son baptized as Urbanus, and a daughter or two, but they are not familiar names to us. It appears that Johann was among several in a family that came over from Germany, but he settled further south than the others in his group. The others generally supported the British during the Rev. War, and after the war, re-settled in Canada, where they obtained grants of property to replace that which they had lost to the patriots. Johann stayed in Tulpehocken, immediate origin of many SBV families.
At the bottom of the "Alguire History" page, is a link to the "Alguire Index page". Check out the 15 children of Martin Alguire, who, in my tentative scheme, would be a 1st cousin to our Harmonas, husband of Lydia. Daughters include Maria, Elizabeth, Catherine, Nancy; sons include Harmonius, Peter, John, Solomon, Daniel, & Henry! These are all names of importance in our branch of the family as well. With the exception of Harmonius, none are unusual, but they do point to similar naming influences.
One last point on this thought process. There were two Daniel Stoevers', a father & his son. Both were ministers, and it was Jr. who moved to the SBV. I cannot recall, however, whether it Senior, or Junior, who was Johann Wolfgang's minister.
Johann Wolfgang, b. 1707, is old enough to be Harmonas's father, but somehow, I think our Harmonas is the son of his older brother, Hans Oster Allgeyer, who appears to have remained in Germany. It is my GUESS that Harmonas was not the eldest son, stood to inherit little, if anything, and decided to cast his lot with his uncles who were going to make a try in the New World. He probably hit his majority about the time he got to the SBV, or married.
I doubt we will find earlier records about him, unless we find a baptismal record, which will have been made in Germany, if my guess is correct. We could also get lucky, & find him on a ships' passenger list, but many have looked for this. Also, if he came with an uncle, or aunt, it would be next to impossible to know you had found him in the ships' list.
If you want a copy of the Harmonas & Mary (Craymore) FG, I suggest you print it out, it will probably disappear in the next update. In my opinion it has been holding up progress on our family study quite long enough.