The Search Begins for James Scott

In researching the ‘declared father’ of Zachariah Scott I had hit a bit of a dead end. The only James Scott in Plumcreek Township was quite old by the time Zachariah was born. On the 1850 census James Scott of Plumcreek Township had a declared age of 77 and his wife Ann was 83. At the time of Zachariah’s birth he would have been about 70 – not unheard of for fathering a child.

But if he was the father than why wouldn’t Polly/Mary or her family have applied for support. If you have named a father in the church record, than it would no longer be a secret, so why not demand financial aid. I researched this particular James Scott, but found no will or documents that would lend any support to his being Zachariah’s father. The only thing in his favor was opportunity based solely on location.

There was another James Scott in the region who was younger, but the distance from Elderton did not make him a logical candidate.

On a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I was working my way through a book of extracted materials from the Armstrong Democrat. These extracted births, marriages and deaths are often the only records that document familial relationships pre 1850. As I always do, I scanned the index for the name Scott in hopes of finding another James Scott in Armstrong County. I was very excited to find and entry and then the following item.

The Armstrong Democrat Thursday, May 19, 1842
Death—On Saturday last, the 14th inst. At the residence of his father in Kittanning, Mr. James SCOTT aged 20 yrs, 2 mo, 14 da.

Backing up nine months from Zachariah’s birth would make his conception about March 1842. Two months prior to this man’s death. This James Scott was born 28 February 1822. This fits ever so much nicer than the “old guy next door” which felt more than a little icky. It also would provide the explanation as to why there was no request for support.

While I can build several solid scenarios around this situation, this does not prove that this James is in fact the father of Zachariah. This is merely the start of the search. I’ll now focus my research on the Anthony and Scott families in Kittaning. Papers for that era are not online and information is sketchy at best, but we’ll see what (if anything) we come up with that might tie these families together. The items I will focus on will be land, taxes, and cemetery and church records.

1. Constance Leinweber Mateer, Early Deaths and Marriages in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania from Kittanning Area Newspapers (Apollo, Pennsylvania: Closson Press, 1997), Death 14 May 1842 James Scott: p.73.

Finding Zachariah T. Scott

I was in the process of doing a random search on Margaret’s father, Daniel Olinger, when my spelling accident occurred. I typed in “’Daniel Ohlinger’ Armstrong Co. PA” and hit enter for my Google search. As soon as I did it, I realized that I had misspelled Olinger and was ready to start over when a single item came up in the results. The word “GASTOWN” in the description caught my eye. Gastown is less than three miles from Elderton and many of the Olingers are buried in the small cemetery there. The entry was a transcription of records for the Reformed and Lutheran Churches in Gastown with baptismal entries from 24 September 1840 through 26 January 1889. I was pretty excited about the record as it might document the birth or baptism of Margaret who was born in 1842, so I began to skim the pages looking for Olinger/Ohlinger. The pages had been translated from the original German, so I expected some spelling variations and possibly even different names based on the German version. I did not find a record for Margaret, but what I did find on page 3 of the transcript was a baptism record that stunned me:

Zacharia b. 2 Dec. 1842, Bapt. 16 Sept. 1844,
Parents: Polly Anthony,
Declared Father: James Scott,
Sponsor: John Anthony

Could it be as simple as an illegitimate child? The birth date was only a day off from his tombstone and the date listed on his death record. But how many children named Zachariah could have been born in the opening days of December 1842 in the Elderton/Gastown area? More importantly, how many Zachariahs could there be with a declared father named Scott?

According to the index, this was the only Scott listed in the record, but I still went through every page and looked at every name. I marked all the Anthonys and found that John A. Anthony and his wife Phebia had two children baptized in the church in 1848 and 1849 respectively. Based on their ages, it is probable that John was a brother or a cousin to Polly. These were the only baptismal records with the surname of Anthony.

On Ancestry, I did an advanced search for Zachariah, born 1842, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, with a mother named Polly. I was rewarded with Zachariah and Polly Smail on the 1850 census in Plumcreek Township. This was the same family I had looked at previously, but now the possibility that my Zachariah Scott and this Zachariah Smail could be one and the same, had “legs.” The household consisted of:

George Smail, age 25, a farmer born in PA
Polly, age 28, PA
Zachariah, age 10, PA, attending school
Elisa Jane, age 2
Canann, age 6 mo. Female

The 1860 census placed the family in Cowanshannock Township, which abuts the northern end of Plumcreek Township. The family now consisted of:

George Smail, age 40
Mary, 26
Zacharias, 17
Eliza J., 15
Catharine A., 9
Margaret, 8
James, 5
Mary, 4
Sarah, 3

Back in the church records I looked for Smails and quickly found them under the German spelling of Schmehl. There was a baptismal record on page 5 for Elisa Jane, born 27 July 1848, baptized 16 October 1848, parents George Schmehl and wife Polly. This entry is a mere dozen entries below the entry of John A. and Phebia Anthony’s first child, Elisabeth Anna. Catharine’s 11 December 1849 birth and 4 May 1851 baptism are recorded on page 7 with the parents listed as George Schmehl and wife Maria. Since Polly is a pet name for Mary, I had no trouble accepting that this was the same woman using the more mature name of Mary in the census records and being referred to as Maria in the German church record.

I spent the next couple of weeks trying every search method that I could think of to locate records for Zachariah Smail after 1860, but it seems that Zachariah Smail disappeared at the same time Zachariah Scott appeared. I have not found Zachariah Smail on any census record, burial, or cemetery record, nor did he enlist in the military or die in the Civil War. There are no tax or draft records for him in the appropriate places or times. I conducted the same searches for Zachariah Anthony – he does not exist beyond the church record of his baptism.

1. Gastown Reformed and Lutheran Churches (Gastown, Pennsylvania, Armstrong County), Combined Church Records, “Church Book of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches of Plumcreek,” Baptism Zachariah Scott p3; digital images, Candy McCain, U S. GenWeb ( : accessed 10 Jul 2008).
2. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp, p. 354, dwelling 291, family 291, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Cowanshannock, p. 124, dwelling 1325, family 1325, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.

Searching for Zachariah

After five long years of diligent work, I felt that I finally had the real answer about my husband’s great-great-grandfather Zachariah T. Scott. He was an alien! Just like E. T., he had obviously been left behind when the space ship took off. He wandered out of the woods in western Pennsylvania and married a well-documented girl, and then they had well-documented children, but while he was born in 1842, he just did not exist in any solid source documentation I could locate before 1864. It was the only reasonable solution.

The earliest record I had been able to find was a draft notice in the Indiana Register of 28 June 1864. This notice listed Zachariah’s residence as Washington Township in Indiana County. Washington Township abuts Plumcreek Township and is less than four miles from Elderton. The first census record I was able to locate was the 1870 census for Plumcreek Township, which listed Zachariah Scott, age 28, with his wife Margaret, age 25, and sons Jonah P., age 5, and Daniel G., age 4. I was unable to locate an 1850 or 1860 census for Zachariah Scott in any part of Pennsylvania at any time.

I spoke with all the elderly relatives to ask if they recalled any stories about this family line, but Zachariah remained an enigma. I called the funeral home in Elderton to see if their records might contain a lead. While they were able to tell me the cost of his funeral ($22) and the date of his burial, they could take me no further.

I looked at each and every Scott family on the 1850 and 1860 census in western Pennsylvania and investigated each male child of the approximate age regardless of name (including Sharp Scott). I looked at every Zachariah, Zacharias, Zachareus, and “Z” in the area for the period prior to 1870 and searched using multiple wildcard options.

There was only one Zachariah of the right age in the right part of Armstrong or Indiana County on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, but the family name was Smail. I also spent several weeks researching the Scotts of Allegheny County, but early on, I realized that Zachareus was not my Scott when I located him on the 1870 census in Allegheny County, at the same time my Zachariah appeared in Armstrong County.

In my extensive search, I even looked at Zachariah’s sons names of John Pettigrew Scott and Daniel George Scott with the thought that his mother’s maiden name may have been Pettigrew or George. His daughter was named Anne Naomi, so I looked at every Zachariah in Pennsylvania to see if any one of them had a mother or sister named Anne or Naomi. I searched everything I could think of and searched most of it several times over the years, but I never located any records for Zachariah T. Scott prior to 1864. There was no child by that name.

The simple answer was – he wasn’t using that name. Finding Zachariah continues in the next post.

Basic Info on Tuberculosis

People have forgotten just what a scourge the disease of tuberculosis was. In the farming communities of the 1800s and early 1900s entire families were afflicted by this disease and it was a common cause of death among the young as well as the old. TB has been around a long time – researchers have found evidence of the disease in prehistoric human remains and Egyptian mummies. I’m going to stay very non-technical in this post – if you want to know more just go Google the history of tuberculosis and prepare to be overwhelmed!

The two types of tuberculosis we dealt with in our family were known as pulmonary tuberculosis and “bone” or extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The primary cause of TB is a bacillus – in really lay terms “a bacterium” that can divide roughly every 16 to 20 hours. It’s not considered a fast grower, but it is a hearty little devil and can withstand weak disinfectants and survive in a dry state for several weeks.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is spread by the cough, sneeze, or spit of an infected person becoming airborne and someone else inhaling it. Think about the close living arrangements of families on farms and it’s easy to see how entire families were infected. Infection with TB did not always equate to the disease becoming active – I have seen numbers in my reading that show from 15-40% on the number of infected who became active.

Generally, the bone type of TB was acquired through the consumption of unpasteurized milk or consumption of meat from an in infected cow. On the Washington State Department of Agriculture website there is a compiled history concerning the State Veterinarian. There is an entry discussing tuberculosis testing of cattle and states, “Herds of up to 150 head were often found to be 100 percent reactive.”1 This was during a time when every farmer had from 4-10 dairy cows for production of, at least, the family milk, and usually sold the extra to the local dairy. The farmers also had a few young steers that they raised to butcher and almost all of these cattle carried the disease. “It would take until 1988 before Washington is declared Tuberculosis free by the Washington State Agricultural Department.”2

The real break-through with TB came in 1944 when a new antibiotic called Streptomycin was administered for the first time. It immediately stopped the progression of the disease and the bacteria disappeared from the sputum and the chance of recovery was excellent. All diseases mutate to survive and TB immediately did so, but combinations of drugs solved most of those problems. In developed countries TB has been significantly reduced. It remains a huge problem in undeveloped countries and new drug resistant strains are still being found. This development came after many in my Burgraff and Kortlever line died from the disease.

1. Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, Washington State Dept. of Agriculture – Animal Health ( : accessed 19 Jun 2009), 1929 entry.
2. Ibid.

Hugo Burgraff

Every family has a child that picks up the load – I refer to it as “the kid that carries the water.” In our family it is Hookie who seemed to take on most of the responsibilities. When his father died, Hookie was 20 years old and he took over running the family farm. His older brother John was living at home, but wasn’t much on farm work. Hookie also became the surrogate father to his younger siblings that were still at home.

My first Hookie story is about his mother’s illness. When Mary became very ill she went to Yakima to stay with friends. It was hoped that the dry climate would help her control her tuberculosis. Unfortunately, the disease had progressed too far for the treatment to help her. When it was obvious that she was failing, Mary wanted to come home to Lynden. Sadie, who was only 13, had been spending time with her in Yakima and she called Hookie to come help. He took the train over to Yakima and then made arrangements with the railroad to get his mother home.

Mary was too advanced in her illness to be allowed in the passenger car and was too weak to have sat for the entire journey anyway. Hookie loaded her cot into the baggage car and made the trip home sitting on the floor of the baggage car holding his mother’s hand. They made the transfers with Hookie carrying his mother in his arms and a station man moving her cot and luggage to the next baggage car. Albert met them at the station with the car and they took Mary home to the farm where she died. Hookie made all the arrangements for Mary’s burial.

Hookie and his brother Albert were executors to Mary’s will, but Hookie was the head of the household. Sadie went to stay with her older sister for awhile, but she really wanted to be home with her brothers. Hookie convinced his sister to let her come back and he was more father than brother to her in the years before she married. He loaned her the money for canning jars to put up vegetables and fruit to sell, and then let her pay him back after she sold her preserves.

When Bert died suddenly in 1938 it would be Hookie that took on the role of guardian uncle to his child. While all the siblings made sure Bert’s family remained part of the Burgraff family, it was often Hugo that made sure that they were included in all the events.

My favorite story of Hookie is about the death of his brother Ike (Arie). Ike died in the tuberculosis sanitarium in Salem, Oregon, and his body was sent to North Bend where his wife Dorothy was living. Dorothy and Ike were living on the edge of poverty and with no money for a funeral, Ike was going to be laid to rest in a pauper’s grave. Hookie stepped in, and taking his brothers Albert and Marion, along with Dorothy’s mother Lucy Jane Wilson Johnson, he went to North Bend to intercept the body. He brought with him on the train a coffin that he’d built the night previous to their departure and he went directly to the funeral home. There he claimed the body of his brother Ike and placed him in the coffin he brought.

The following morning the family, along with Dorothy and her daughter Donna, left for Lynden to bury Ike in Monumenta Cemetery next to his brother Bert. The two graves had originally been purchased by Hookie for himself and potentially a future wife, but he had given one up for Bert the year before and now he was giving up the other one for Ike. With money being tight only the women rode in the passenger car. Hookie and his brothers made the long ride back to Lynden in the baggage car sitting on Ike’s coffin. Hookie handled all the arrangements for the burial and paid all the bills.

Hookie married Kathleen Elnora Klander on 2 June 1939 when he was 38 years old. I like to think he was waiting until all of his obligations to his family were past. He had seen all of his siblings married and settled and completed his duty as “surrogate father.” Sadly, the man that had been a father to so many had no children. Kathleen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and spent many years in a nursing home later in her life. Hugo spent some time in a sanitarium for tuberculosis, but his disease never developed to the severe level of his brothers.

When I met Hookie in 1967 my immediate thought was, “I know exactly what my Dad will look like when he’s 65!” They had the same nose and the same lively eyes. Hookie was sweet, kind, and gentle with a warm hug and great laugh. He was adored by his siblings, their children, and their grandchildren.

Research Update

I was in Salt Lake City recently doing research and I worked hard on the Burggraaf information that I was missing.

There was no record found concerning the death of Peter Burggraaf (b. abt 1824) in either Marion or the surrounding counties. There was also no record of land exchanges concerning Peter Burggraaf.

There was no record of death for Willem Burggraaf (1822-1900) or Sygje Stek Burggraaf (1820-1901) I checked Marion County for Willem and Marion, Sioux and Lyon counties for Sygje. The last document I find is a land sale in April 1900 for Willem and the best I can figure is that Willem sold his property off shortly before his death.

There is no record of death for Elizabeth Burggraaf (John’s first wife) or for Little Albert in either Sioux or Lyon counties.

The only thing left to do will be to attempt to find a church in Holland Township, Sioux County that may have recorded the passing. Failing that I will be reduced to hiring a researcher to look at the Dutch papers in both areas for information.

Ah well, a negative result is still a result, but I sure would have liked some closure on these folks.

The Kindness of Strangers

I know I promised the next post would be about Peter and William – I swear it will be the next one – but I need to take a minute here to talk about the kindness of some people.

When I was working on my research of Arrie Burggraaf I received an incredible amount of help from people that had no personal stake in this research, but went out of their way to help me.

There had been a small blurb in one of the newspapers in Sioux County, Iowa, about the death of Arrie. It simply gave me a where and when, so I went in search of a local paper near Running Water, South Dakota. Carol Hagen answered the phone when I called The Springfield Times, and asked for help finding the news article based on the date provided. I asked if they had an archive department and Carol informed me she was the archive department and the editor! She kindly went through the old papers and transcribed the article for me.

Carol then pointed me at people in Bon Homme County that might be able to help me locate the right cemetery. Three phone calls ensued and three different people in Bon Homme County were on the search. While each one thought the other might have the right information, none of them stopped looking. The next day I had a phone call with a cemetery name, and the name and phone number of the head of the cemetery committee.

I called Ron and Lois Hornstra of the Pioneer Cemetery at 3 pm in the afternoon and the next morning I had pictures in my email of Arrie’s gravesite and the cemetery. Complete with directions to locate the grave should I ever be able to visit.

This is the kind of thing that makes genealogy and family history so special. It is amazing that these folks took the time to help me solve a family mystery. I can’t thank them enough for all their help and kindness.

Dutch Naming System

It is important to understand the Dutch naming system since it frequently provides clues about other generations. The Dutch followed a basic pattern of naming their children for relatives. Generally it went in this order:

First son – maternal grandfather
Second son – paternal grandfather
First daughter – paternal grandmother
Second daughter – maternal grandmother
Note – if one of the grandparents is deceased then that name is often used first.

The next children are usually named for brothers and sisters of the parents. There is not a specific order that I have seen.

Not every family followed this practice! It is not unusual to find siblings that take different naming paths with one brother following the tradition, and one brother not. The naming pattern simply becomes another tool for you to use in researching.

Recycling names is the hardest thing to get a grip on. When a child died then the next child of that gender would often receive that name – especially if it was the name of the grandparent. When researching on Genlias I once ran into a family that had five children named Jan, four that died in infancy and one that reached maturity. Also a little unusual to us is the naming of a child from a second marriage for a deceased first spouse.

Female names are frequently the same as male names with only the suffix difference of ina, the, pje, je, or simply an “a.” The male Cornelis becomes the female Cornelia or Neeltje, Hendrik becomes Hendrika or Hendrikje, Jan become Jantje.

When you begin your research, you may need to do additional research to find the other versions of your ancestor’s name. Sygje Stek is listed on her tombstone as Sallie. Sygje is how it appears on her birth registration signed by her father, but I have seen it spelled in several different ways both in Dutch and in English.

Dutch to English

Easy to see:
Jan = John, Pieter = Peter, Matthijs/Thijs = Matthew, Dirk = Richard,
Hendrik = Henry, Maartje/Marie/Rie = Mary, Sienje = Cynthia.

Some are not so easy to see:
Teunis = Anthony, Tryjntje = Katherine/Katie, Sygje = Sadie/Sallie,
Klaas = Nicholas.

There are a lot of sites available online if you are interested in finding out more about Dutch naming practices or a particular name.