More clues to the ancestors of J. Adam Barnhart, born 1774
What I will show on this page are the remainder of "clues" I have found concerning the parentage of Adam Barnhart, born 1774 In Cumberland County, PA.   I will try to show what I have chronologically. Keep in mind that on the former page I displayed the passengers recorded arriving from Germany in 1752. One of these arrivals is an Adam Bernhart who arrived on the ship "William and Mary" on Sept. 26, 1752. He also is officially recorded as taking the Oath of Allegiance (to England and King George) at Philadelphia the same year. The only other Adam Bernhart to arrive in Philadelphia immigrated in 1768.  It was customary for new arrivals to stay in Philadelphia for awhile to "get their bearings" unless they had other relatives already living in the "Colonies" to welcome them and give them shelter for a time.

This is not to say that other Adam Bernharts did not arrive at other US ports during that same time frame. 

The first 4 historical pages are taken from a book, again written by I. Daniel Rupp, considered to be a reliable and careful historian of his time.  The publication date in Lancaster City at the bottom of the title page is 1848  I have included page 48 here because it gives the reader a little information about the German immigrants to Pennsylvania starting in 1755 (highlighted in yellow). All information related here sets the historical stage for those many counties mentioned on the Title Page.  I believe that 1755 was a propitious year for both the Barnhart and the Leininger families in America as you will see as you read forward.      
Adam Barnhart Cumberland Co p. 49. (3).jpg
Below ▼are pages 49 and 50 of Rupp's book.  They tell of the influx of German immigrants into Cumberland County starting in 1770 and into Allen Twp., Cumberland County before 1775.   Named immigrants are an Adam Barnhart and a John Leininger. (Reminder: Our Adam Barnhart is calculated to have been born in Cumberland County in 1774 or 5).
I have good reason to believe that the man, John Leininger, highlighted on the left may be the Grandfather or Great Uncle of our Adam's wife, Elizabeth Leininger, who was born in 1782 in York County, PA.  I will explain further here at his link.  Leininger Family History
It is well-documented American history that British General Braddock's expeditionary forces to capture the French Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) failed at the hands of French and Indian forces on Sept. 9, 1755  It is also-well documented history that the Indian Nations of Pennsylvania felt emboldened to eradicate immigrant settlements who represented broken treaties by encroachment on Indian Lands. One of these "eradications" occurred on Oct of 1755 at Big Cove in Fulton County. It is estimated that of the ninety-three settlers in Big Cove, forty-seven were killed or captured.  The ones that were captured were taken west to Ohio. Among them was Isaac Miller, 1st born son of our ancestor Robert Miller, plus two boys from a Martin family and they were able to escape.  Others were released almost 7 years later after a treaty was signed ending the French and Indian wars.  See here for details of this massacre.   An even more well-documented massacre occurred on Penn's Creek in Snyder County October of 1755 involving the Leininger family and others. See the Leininger Family History link above .

 I report this information here because following these ghastly incidents, those who escaped massacre or capture fled those areas to safety in southern Pennsylvania counties and resettlement back into those ravaged areas did not occur for many years to come.  I believe that this is what became of the Barnhart and Leininger descendants mentioned in the Rupp book pages above.

I believe that Adam moved his "still-remaining-at-home -family" as early as 1758 from Cumberland Co., PA. to Lancaster County. Of course, I am unable stamp my information as "fully proven".  I have an some early church records from the First Reformed Congregation at Lancaster, PA.  In 1758 an Adam Barnhart and Anna Nicolai Barnhart, his wife, are sponsors at baptism for Christine Margaret & Anna Caterine, the twin daughters of Ludwig Schott and Anna Barbara Schott.  I am guessing that Anna Barbara is one of Adam and Anna's daughters and they, as grandparents, are asked to sponsor their twin granddaughters, one of whom is also christened "Anna" This was a very customary family and religious rite. The date of this baptism tells me that this Adam Barnhart, living in Lancaster county as early as 1758, cannot be our Adam's (b.1774 in Cumberland Co.) father but may be his grandfather.   Note: Much of the eastern part of today's Cumberland County were considered to be in Lancaster County from 1755 until 1780 so it may have been difficult for early settlers to determine just where the borders lay in that vast wilderness area. 


In 1768 and 1771 this older Adam buys two parcels of land in Mountjoy Township from a Phillip Shoemaker who appears to have owned a lot of land in that township.  Below  ▼is the 29 acre parcel purchased in 1771. This is a merged picture and I have removed 3 empty horizontal areas to save space on my website.  If any would like to see the actual archive copies of these land records, just let me know.   That 1768 land purchase of 142 acres of was attached just adjacent to the north of this parcel. (Indicated as A-81-10 on this plat.)  The land Adam Bernard buys from Philip Shoemaker shows that they are next door neighbors. Coincidently, when our J. Adam Bernhardt and his wife Elizabeth Leininger move to Mercer County, PA early in the 1800s they also have Shoemakers for close neighbors. See the 1873 Hopkins Map on this page.  I have marked all the other familiar names associated with the Bernharts the area on that map.


Also, I have an archival land warrant record (dated January 22, 1733) of a John Bernard buying and owning 335 acres of land along Pequea Creek.  This creek runs generally southwest for approximately 40 miles (65 km) from the eastern border of Lancaster County and Berks County, Pennsylvania to the village of Pequea between Martic and Conestoga Twps. where it empties into the Susquehanna River on the west.  Could this John be the father of the Adam Barnhart just above?  The reader can see that there is much more research to be done. 

I have a few more church records from the First Reformed Congregation at Lancaster, PA.  These records may have a few clues about Adam Barnhart's parentage.  Even though I have gleaned just a smattering of records from library, I believe that they can add a certain veracity to my theory.  Back then people believed fervently in their faith and if not that, in practicality, the church was a place to gather and to maintain family contacts.  Usually the people from one family attended church with other close family members and relatives. They shared celebrations of births and marriage, and mourned the death of loved ones together at that church or at their homes.

    The next church records show that on 4 Aug 1772, a Catharine Bernhard and Joseph Barnhart, the parents of Anna Maria present her for baptism at the church.


   Four years later, Joseph Bernhard records the birth of his son, Joseph Bernhard on 21 Dec 1778. Sponsor: Eva Weili, single. Joseph is baptized on 10 Jan 1779.   Eva Weili is still the child's sponsor and both his parents, (Catherine and Joseph Sr.)  are recorded in attendance.

The church records I was able to attain are sparse and have gaps.  I could not attach for surety "our" Adam Barnhart with these parents even though they are in child bearing and rearing years the same as Adam's (b.1774).  Perhaps they are Uncle and Aunt to him.

The next First Reformed Congregation at Lancaster church record is an odd one.  It records the death of a child (unnamed) who died on 15 Dec 1772.  This child is a son/daughter of "John" Bernhard.  Did the mother die in childbirth?  Does the fact that the child is unnamed show that he/she was not old enough to be christened? This is the only record I found at that church naming a "John Bernard" as a father of a child. Did he move away?  Did he remarry?  Did he simply quit going to church?  Does he die soon after as well?  Many questions.  Because the child is born in 1772, there is a strong suggestion that John may be a brother to Joseph (father) in the other records because their children are born in the same general time period.  Remember, too, that the Revolutionary War was heating up around this time and by 1775 the people of Pennsylvania had become deeply embroiled in that conflict.  Last Question here.  Is this John our Adam's (b. 1774) Father? 

One more church record from the First Reformed Congregation at Lancaster that I think requires attention. It records: 1.)  The marriage of Henry Barnhart to a Catherine Beck of Manorland on Dec 13, 1796.  I am going to assume that Manorland refers to Manor Twp. located along the eastern side of the Susquehanna River just south of Mountjoy Twp.  2.) The baptism of Jacob Bernhard, son of Henry and Catherine on April 24, 1797, a little more that 5 months after their marriage. Armed with an actual birth date, I ran a search in "Ancestry" for a Jacob Barnhart born in that year.  One of the first records to pop up was a 1860 census record for a Jacob Barnhart, age 44 (b. abt. 1816), who lived in Pymatuning Twp, Mercer County, PA.  Pymatuning Twp. abuts West Salem Twp. lest than 10 miles from where the family of Adam Barnhart lives.  This fact intrigued me so I took a further look.  I at first rejected that this could be the Jacob Bernhart I was seeking because that particular Jacob would be about age 63.  However, listed with this Jacob's family is an old man, Henry Barnhart, living with them who is 87 year and would have been born about 1773.  Could this be the Henry who married Catherine Beck in Lancaster County?  Then an idea came to me.  This Henry is living with his Grandson, Jacob!  After this, much research data fell quickly into place. First of all, I did find the Jacob Barnhart, (Henry and Elizabeth Bernhard's son, born in 1797) on the 1840 census.  Jacob was listed on the Delaware Twp., Mercer Co., census.  Delaware Twp. is located next to Pymatuning on the east, again less that 10 miles apart township's center to center. This Jacob is age 44.  I did not find him on subsequent census records so he could have died or moved elsewhere.  I therefore believe that Henry and Adam are either brothers or first cousins. They are born in the same 10 year time period. I believe that Henry does not leave Lancaster County and move west until after his father Joseph dies some time after 1810.  I believe that he decided to venture into the Tavern Keeping business near the growing town of Sharon, PA in 1825. He would be about 58 years old. Sharon and Mercer, mentioned in the article below, are both towns in Mercer county.  Sharon is on the western edge of the county across the Shenango River from Ohio and Mercer is about 15 miles east of that.  This page was excerpted from the History Of Mercer County published in in 1888, a volume I often consult to find our Mercer County relatives.  See the two historical excerpts below. ▼ Now I know this doesn't prove that Henry was a Tavern keeper in 1810 but it does show that these two Barnharts thought a liquor establishment a worthy enterprise to support as a community business.     

Lastly. I have tantalizing 1790 & 1800 census records from Mountjoy Township located in northwest Lancaster county. The 1790 census shows both a John and Joseph Bernhard living in that township.  This seems further evidence to me that they were brothers who probably inherited land from their father, Adam.  1790 records have very skimpy information  No names are given except the head of the household's name. No telling for sure what age the males "over 16" are.  They could be anywhere from 17-100 years old.   Females are only given one category; all ages were lumped together.   See Chart below▼.
I am going to make a guess that John is the elder brother and named after his grandfather, John.  Also, there are fewer persons in his household which may indicate that other children have left home to make their own homes elsewhere.  In 1790 our Adam (born in 1774) would have been 16 or 17 depending on what time of the year the census was taken,  The women could include a wife and/or married or unmarried daughters. Both households contain 2 males over 16, one of which is the head of the family and one a son who lives still at home perhaps to help with the farm.     See 1800 census chart below▼.

John is no longer listed on the 1800 census.  He may have died or he may have gone to live with a married son or daughter. There are many scenarios possible.  By 1800, Joseph's household has shrunk to 6, now minus 1 male. Joseph is indicated as 45 and older and his wife Catherine, the same.  In 1810, Joseph and Catherine, now recorded as B
arnhart, are still alive in Mountjoy Twp.  They are still listed as ages 45 and over but they must be pretty old by then.  The household has grown to 8 persons but none under 16. Listed are: 1 male - 16-25, two males - 26-44, two females -16-25, and 1 female - 26-44. 
 I could find no other records of John and Joseph and their descendents except for our Adam on and they have a lot of dates.  Perhaps it's because the Barnhart name is spelled so many different ways and the traditional repetition of given names.

Most researchers and genealogists would think I have taken a lot of liberties with my narrative above.  Too much speculation and guesswork.  I do feel that I am on the right track concerning the ancestry of Adam Bernhard.  I admit that there is a lot more research to be made before I can prove my theories.  It will take at least one more trip up to Lancaster and Cumberland Counties visiting and researching at local historical and genealogical societies. I feel committed to this family for these reasons: 1.) Many of the names used in all these families are the same or similar, such as Adam or John.  Our Adam names his son, Joseph.  2.) in order for Adam to meet his future wife Elizabeth Lininger, it seems logical to me that they would live in somewhat close proximity of each other. Mountjoy Twp. is just a hop, skip and a jump from York County across the Susquehanna River where Elizabeth Leininger was born and reared  I have found much more valid research of the Leiningers and you can connect with that family on the link above on this page.  3.) Adam and Elizabeth very likely of the same faith but went to different Lutheran Reformed churches. 4.)Their German immigrant family backgrounds are similar beginning in Cumberland County and then moving south to Lancaster and York Counties. After the discovery of the gravestones of J. Adam Barnhart and his wife Elizabeth Leininger Bernhart in 2013, I am even more convinced that these last Bernharts are the ancestors of our Adam. Let me know what you think.  See the gravestones here.

Perhaps I will hear from a descendent of the Barnharts who will get in touch with me here with further and better information.  I hope so. If I should find something new on a future geological junket, I will be sure to post it on this website.

If you have corrections or additions to make to this page or other pages in this website contact me:

  Marla Hembree at:






This page was excerpted from the History Of Mercer County published in in 1888, a volume I often consult to find our Mercer County relatives. See this.  ►     



 What lead me to this conclusion?  I uncovered another Lancaster County historical document.  It shows that Henry and his father had earlier dealings with the liquor business. Also, I can find no other Henry Barnharts in other Mercer County Census records of the same 20 year time frame. ▼

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