Friday, May 24, 2013

The Children of John Christian Barnhardt & Elizabeth Berringer of Cabarrus County, NC & the Parentage of Barbary Barnhardt, wife of Jacob Moose

The commonly listed parentage for Barbary [as spelled on her headstone, but typically spelled Barbara in Moose family trees] in most Moose and Barnhardt family trees, including my own, has bothered me for some  time. They are frequently listed (as dozens of trees on will attest) as John Christian Barnhardt and Mary Elizabeth Barringer. My primary issue with this assertion is that John and Mary were almost certainly too old to be Barbary's parents. John was born in 1719 and Mary in 1724, according to their memorial headstones in Cabarrus County, North Carolina and according to all family records. Barbary's headstone clearly puts her year of birth as 1784, at which time Mary would have been 60 years old, far past the time when most healthy women are able to bear children. [Women over 55 are very unlikely to give birth, and the list of those who have is very short.] John and Mary's last child, as best as we know, was born about 1862, 22 years before Barbary's birth. (That was the year of birth for Sophia Barnhardt). Based on this, I find it extremely unlikely, if not impossible, that Barbary could be the daughter of John Christian and Mary Barnhardt, begging the question, who is?

Based on geographic proximity and John Christian's progeny being the only Barnhardt family in the Cabarrus County region, it is fair to assume based on her 1784 birth year that Barbary was almost certainly a granddaughter of John Christian. But through which son? I am going to look at each known son individually with as much information on them as I can find to come up with the most logical conclusion. According to the records of the Coldwater Reformed Church in Cabarrus County, John Christian was "buried at Coldwater Aug 11, 1799 Christian Bernhard, born in St. Johannes in the Palatinate April 5, 1719. He married Elizabeth Barringer, lived with her in marriage 49 years, begot 10 children, whom 5 are still living; lived to see the birth of 28 grandchildren of whom 5 so far have died. He died August 10, 1799 after a protracted illness and attained an age of 80 years, 4 months, and 5 days."

This clearly states he had 10 children, though most trees I have found for him list only seven: Daughters Sophia, Ann Elizabeth, Christiana, and Susan/Susanna, and sons George, John Matthias, Christian, and Matthias Alexander. However, Matthias Alexander was actually John Christian's great grandson. The reason for the confusion stems from him being the son of John Christian Barnhardt, son of John Matthias, son of the first John Christian. A biographical sketch on Matthias Alexander and his descendants can be found here: This leaves three children of John Christian Barnhardt unaccounted for.

We will first look at George Barnhardt, who was born in December of 1760 according to his Revolutionary War Pension application. While he would be old enough to be Barbary's father, his only known marriage was to Mary Mitchell, and that marriage occurred in "late 1789 or early 1790" according to an affidavit filed by their children. (Source: So unless George had an as-yet-undiscovered previous marriage prior to Mary Mitchell, he is most likely not Barbary's father.

The next son to look at is John Matthias Barnhardt. He was born 6 Apr 1752, so he was old enough to have been Barbary's father. However, the only known marriage for him was to Anne Margaret Bushart on 24 May 1785, a year after Barbary's birth, so again, unless John had a previous marriage prior to Anne Margart, it is unlikely he is Barbary's father. It is, however, slightly more likely that he would have had a previous marriage than for George to as by the time of his marriage to Anne Margaret, John was 33 years old, leaving plenty of time prior to that when he could have married and fathered other children.

Next up is Christian Barnhardt. Christian married a Nancy Suther. I have a found a few lists of children for him on (listing Ann Elizabeth, John, Catherine, Margaret, Mary, and Rachel as his children), but little information on him for the most part. He has 2 10-15 year old daughters in his household in 1800, but Barbary would have been 16 by 1800. His 1818 probate records indicate he has children, but does not specify their names, only specifying his wife, Nancy Barnhardt. It is possible that one of the 10-15 year old's is Barbary, but it does not seem likely given that based on family trees, his daughters appear to be accounted for.

These are the only sons I have found listed for John Christian Barnhardt, but as previously asserted, there are at least 3 children we do not know of, and perhaps more. Though the primary purpose of this post is to assert the parentage of Barbary Barnhardt, I do want to take this time to point out that I have found little-to-no-evidence proving the names of any of John Christian's daughters. I take particular issue with "Christiana", whose husband Jacob Derryberry appears to have had no connection to Cabarrus County whatsoever, instead being connected to Burke County. I have found no documentation that Jacob Derryberry's wife was a Barnhardt at all, nor that John Christian had a daughter named Christiana.

I have found even less evidence to support the existence of the supposed Susan/Susanna Barnhardt. A few trees have her listed as the consort of a Phillip Bostian, but virtually no other information on her has been found. Similarly, there is virtually no evidence proving the existence of an Ann Elizabeth Barnhardt; I have not found any place that even lists a spouse for her, or any other pertinent information. For the last remaining daughter listed for John Christian Barnhardt, Sophia, there is significant documentation at least proving her existence and residence within Cabarrus County, but I still have found nothing to prove her being a Barnhardt. I am willing to continue attaching Sophia as a child of John Christian, but as of now, I don't believe I can attach Ann Elizabeth, Susan, or Christiana as children of John Christian Barnhardt without further documentation. As far as I am concerned, at least six and possibly seven of John Christian's children need to be identified.

I would like to next assert that I have yet to find proof that "John Matthias"'s first name was actually John. This would not be uncommon if it were, as "Johann" was a common first name among Germans who then went by their middle name. I once found a German family who had named all of their children Johann and Marie, i.e. John and Mary, but with all different middle names, which they would then go by as their primary names; Johann Frederick was Frederick, Johann Heinrich was Henry, Johann Gerhard was George, etc. However, I have yet to find documentation indicating that Matthias had a John before his name. The 1780 Reconstructed Census lists him simply as Matthias, as do the 1790, 1800, and 1810 Censuses. When he is listed as a witness for a deed or a will, he is listed simply as Matthias. I think the name "John" being applied to him may be rooted in the fact that his grandson was named John Matthias and people just automatically assumed the full name had been inherited, rather than just the middle name. (Similarly, I have an uncle named James Johnson Todd; his father's name was James Todd, and so for decades researchers named the father James Johnson Todd, even in published materials, assuming they shared a full name. As it turns out, more than a dozen records list him as James A. Todd, so the assumption was completely unfounded and led to dozens or more people having bad information in their records.) I have yet to find a document where his name is listed as John. If such a document exists, I would appreciate being pointed in its direction, but until then I will be listing him simply as Matthias.

After a few more days of researching, I believe I have found Barbery's father, and at the same time, I believe I have found a new son to list for John Christian Barnhardt. There is more evidence to support my former assertion than my latter, but I believe both stand on strong footing as well as they can with us lacking a will for John Christian or a will for Barbary's father.

A Charles Barnhardt is well-documented as having been a long-time resident of Cabarrus County; it appears he has been there as long as any other Barnhardt. However, for some reason I have not yet discovered, he is typically attached in family trees to Henry Barnhardt and Gertrude Swing of Guilford County, North Carolina, or to no parents at all. Why no one else has concluded that he could be one of the unknown children of John Christian Barnhardt is a mystery to me, but it's clear he fits at least circumstantially.

It was pointed out to me by another researcher that Charles was missing from the 1790 Census in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina where John Christian and his sons Christian, Matthias, and George, along with a Henry, were residing. They had concluded that he was the Charles Barnhart found in the 1790 Census in berk County, Pennsylvania, despite the fact that all of his identified grandchildren listed their respective Barnhardt parent's birthplace as North Carolina in the 1880 Census, including those whose parents were born prior to 1790.

Then by a happy accident, I found that Charles is indeed in the 1790 Census in Mecklenburg County, NC Census; his last name has been indexed on as "Barenheart", but when looking at the image it clearly says "Barnhart". So this clearly indicates that Charles was living in the portion of Mecklenburg which became Cabarrus, as were John Christian and his sons. He was a mere two pages from where John Christian and his sons were clustered, but it's difficult to really assess how closely anyone lived to one another in this Census as portions of it are written alphabetically rather than in order of household. The unknown Henry Barnhart is on page 4, while John Christian and sons are on 9 and Charles on 11; I have found no further record of this Henry, but it is possible he could be another of John Christian's unknown children, though there is no further evidence to prove it.

My logic for applying Barbary as a daughter of Charles and his wife, Anna Hagler (I have found no source for this name), starts with her marriage to Jacob Moose. Her security for this union was a "Chas. Barnhart". Whether this is Charles Sr. or Charles Jr. isn't necessarily relevant, as Charles Jr. is the son of Charles Sr. and therefore would have been Barbery's brother if it is not indeed her father. (Source: Though she died in 1839, Barbary's Moose in-laws remained close to the Barnhardt clan. Matthias Barnhardt was a witness to the will of Jacob Mussgnug, Barbary's father-in-law, and Charles Barnhardt Jr. and Julia Ann Barnhardt were the witnesses to the will of her mother-in-law, Barbara Bushart Moose.

Barbary also fits into the Census records for Charles Barnhardt Sr. I have found several lists online for his children which have that he had two unknown daughters, one born approximiately 1781 and one born approximately 1783. This doesn't make sense as Charles has only one daughter between the ages of 16 and 25 in the 1800 Census, and his 10-15 year old daughter would have been Anna Barnhardt, but it does mean he had one unaccounted for daughter whose age range fits Barbary's (born 1784). Lastly, Barbary is buried in St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, which is also where Charles Barnhardt Jr. and George Barnhardt, sons of Charles Sr., are interred.

Finally, according to records from the Cabarrus County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, in July 1828 the administrators of Charles's estate were named as his son, George Barnhardt, and none other than Jacob Moose. (

I have found less evidence connecting Charles to John Christian other than geographic proximity, but given the number of John Christian's unknown children, I have not found reason to detract from the probability that Charles was his son. Charles is in Cabarrus County in 1800 living next to his eldest sons, John and Jacob Barnhardt. A third supposed son, Phillip, is also in enumerated in Cabarrus that year. The other Barnhardt brothers are spread out a few pages away. In 1810, it is difficult to ascertain how far each of the Barnhardt brothers lived from one another as it appears some pages were done in alphabetical order, while others were not. There are also a high number of Barnhardt households in this census which have not been connected to one another; there are 14 Barnhardt heads of household in Cabarrus County in 1810, and only 10 in 1820. Three of those missing would be Christian Jr., Matthias, and Charles, who all died between 1810 and 1820. But in 1810, there is an extra Charles, a Paul, a "Stophel" [which may be Christopher], an unknown "Matthews" [which may be another Matthias], and a Nancy whose husband has not yet been determined.

Despite the holes in the Barnhardt research, I believe it is safe to attach Barbary as the daughter of Charles, and Charles as the son of John Christian. Unless new evidence comes to life that detracts from this position, this is how I will keep my records for now.

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