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Crobarger Surname

The Crobarger family has not been easy to research. One reason is that the spelling of the name has varied considerably over the years. It appears that the name was probably spelled Krohberger in Germany and Crobarger has become the most common spelling in America, although common variations have been Croberger and Crowbarger.

By default, everyone below is listed with the last name Crobarger, even though their names may have been spelled differently in contemporary records. Different contemporary spellings include: Kroberger, Krobarger, Crowbarger, Crowberger, Croberger, Crobacher, Crobacker, Chroberger, Grauberger, Grobarger, Groberger, Khroberger, Krohberger.

1st Generation:

Daniel Crobarger was probably born circa 1720s, perhaps in Germany. He probably died in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania.

This man may have been the emigrant ancestor of the family, and probably settled with his family in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. It is only a guess that is name was Daniel, and there is no direct proof that he was the father of the below children. In 1749, a Daniel Groberger emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia. Then in 1754, a Daniel Kroberger served as a sponsor to the baptism of a child of Michael Gartner in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Warwick, Pennsylvania (In the same church that Michael and George Crobarger - below - used during the 1770s). And finally, his oldest known grandson was named Daniel Crobarger - perhaps in his honor.

He married unknown.

They had at least the following children:

1Michael Crobarger
2George Crobarger
3Leonard Crobarger was born circa 1750. He died before July 18, 1844 in Peters Township, Franklin Co., Pennsylvania.
He married Mary. She was born circa 1760 in Pennsylvania and died after 1850 in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania.
They had the following children:
Elizabeth Crobarger
Susannah Crobarger (1783-1866)
md. 1st ??? Weaver
md. 2nd Henry Rosen
John H. Crobarger (c. 1795-1850)
md. Susannah Hansel

There is no proof that Leonard was related to this family, but it seems likely. During the 1780s, he lived in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, near Michael and George Crobarger, and the inference is that they were brothers. Leonard apparently served in the American Revolution; it is unknown under what capacity but he was a pensioner in 1840. While Michael and George Crobarger both eventually moved to Virginia, Leonard remained in Franklin County, Pennsylvania for the duration of his life. One online family tree lists his name as "Lawrence", which might have been closer to his original German name (Lorentz?).

Leonard wrote his will in 1834, which was proven in 1844. He named his wife Mary, his son John, his daughter Susannah, Susannah's children John Wever and Sarah Wever and the unnamed children of his daughter Elizabeth.

2nd Generation:

Michael Crobarger was possibly born on February 10, 1747 14, perhaps in Germany. He possibly died on April 17, 1827 14, in Augusta Co., Virginia. He is buried in the St. John Cemetery, Augusta Co., Virginia.

Father: Daniel Crobarger
Mother: unknown

Note: his name was actually George Michael Crobarger, but he always went by his middle name Michael. For simplicity's sake - and to differentiate him from George Crobarger (probably his brother) - I have him listed as just Michael.

There is no evidence of his birth family, but he was probably the son of Daniel Crobarger of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, probably the brother of George Crobarger of Hawkins County, Tennessee and also of Leonard Crobarger of Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

Michael was married to Eva Barbara Lenherr, sometime before 1768. Between 1768 and 1777, they were in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania; where they lived in Warwick Township (Michael was on tax lists there in 1771, 1772 and 1773) and were probably also in the vicinity of the village of Brickerville. Sometime between 1777 and 1779, they moved to Letterkenny Township in what is now Franklin Co., Pennsylvania. They were still in Franklin County as late as 1790. In about 1793, they moved to Rockingham County, Virginia. Michael appeared on tax lists in Rockingham County between 1794 and 1807. In 1797 in Rockingham County, a Michael Crowbarger was married to a widow named Elizabeth Thompson.

Sometime between 1807 and 1811, Michael moved with various relatives to northeastern Tennessee, where his brother George had also moved. I am guessing that Michael brought his wife (if he was married) and unmarried children with him. One researcher had posted a cryptic, unsourced and undated comment: "Lived in Rockingham Co., VA, and with wife Eve sold land in Sullivan Co., VA, to Jacob Crobarger for $1.00". Since there is not a Sullivan County, Virginia; this must be referring to Sullivan County, Tennessee. In 1811-1812, Michael was taxed in Sullivan County, Tennessee with Jacob Crobarger. Then in 1813, Michael and his wife Eva were described as residents of Hawkins County, Tennessee (where Michael's brother George lived), when they bought and sold land in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Sometime after this, Michael apparently returned to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In 1820, a Michael Krobarger was enumerated in Rockingham County, Virginia (where his daughters Catherine and Christina were still living). Also, in the St. John Cemetery in neighboring Augusta County, Virginia (where his son George is buried) there is a "M---- [unreadable] Kroberger" who was born in 1747 and died in 1827, and his tombstone is in German. If one accepts this theory and trusts the transcription of that tombstone (done in 1937), then he was born on February 10, 1747 and died on April 17, 1827.

He married Eva Barbara Lenherr circa 1768, probably in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She was born circa 1748 in Warwick, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She probably died between 1790 and 1797, in Pennsylvania or Virginia.

There are conflicting sources about Eva's identity. Most family trees indicate her last name was Lauderbach, which probably derives from an 1813 deed in which she was described as "Eva Crowbarger his wife, formerly Eva Lowderback". However, it's more likely that her maiden name was Lenherr and that she was the daughter of Johann Jacob Lenherr and Eva Maria Hager of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Jacob died in 1769 and wrote his will in which he described his wife and named all of his children; she was listed as Barbara. Apparently, a record of the Orphan Court of Lancaster County, dated June 12, 1772, indicates that Jacob's daughter Eva Barbara was then married to George Michael Groberger - but I haven't yet found the court record to prove or disprove that. Contemporary records also support the Lenherr identity. When four of their children were baptized, members of the Lenherr family (including her mother and sisters) served as sponsors to the baptisms. In addition, many of the Crobarger children's names seem to have come from the Lenherr family - Eva, Elizabeth, Catharina, Christina, and Jacob.

Eva was apparently born and raised in Warwick, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; the oldest child in a large family. It seems that she went by her middle name Barbara - following German customs.

It is not known when or where she died. In 1797, a Michael Crowbarger was married to an Elizabeth Thompson in Rockingham County, Virginia. Since there is no evidence that there was more than one Michael, Eva was probably dead and her husband remarried. However, this is contradicted by the 1813 deed which described Michael's wife as Eva. The simple solution is that they were two different Eva's and Eva Lenherr was long dead; which would explain the discrepancy between Lenherr and Lauderbach. Eva was a relatively common name among German-American families. Furthermore, Eva Barbara Lenherr would probably have been described in the deed as Barbara, and not as Eva, had she been alive. The Lauderbach family originated in the same area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and moved into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and some of that family also moved on to Hawkins County, Tennessee.

My guess then is that Eva Barbara Lenherr was alive at the time of the 1790 census enumeration, but that she died sometime before her husband remarried in 1797.

They had at least the following children:

1Eva Elizabeth Crobarger was born on October 31, 1768 in Warwick, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She probably died before 1777.
2Daniel Crobarger was born on December 21, 1770 in Warwick, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. He probably died young.
3Catharine "Caty" Crobarger was born on October 10, 1772 in Warwick, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She died on September 21, 1858 in Rockingham Co., Virginia. She is buried in the Keezletown Cemetery, Keezletown, Rockingham Co., Virginia.
She married John Koontz on or after January 9, 1794 in Rockingham Co., Virginia. He was born on July 13, 1762 and died in 1847 in Rockingham Co., Virginia.
They had the following children:
Elizabeth Koontz (1795-1874)
md. William Seal
Peter Koontz (c. 1797-)
Mary Koontz (1800-)
Barbara Koontz (1804-1877)
md. David Scott
John Morgan Koontz (1812-1876)
md. Frances Huffman

Catharine "Caty" Crobarger, daughter of Michael, was married to John Coonce/Koontz sometime on or soon after January 9, 1794 in Rockingham County, Virginia. After her marriage, she and her husband lived in Rockingham County, Virginia; where she had children including Peter, Elizabeth, Mary, Barbara, and John. Catharine Koontz died in 1858 in Rockingham County, Virginia.

4George Crobarger was born on December 4, 1774 in Warwick, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. He died on December 29, 1854 14 in Greenville, Augusta Co., Virginia. He is buried in the St. John Cemetery, Augusta Co., Virginia.
He married first Susannah Sipe on August 1, 1797 in Rockingham Co., Virginia.
They had the following children:
Elizabeth Crobarger (c. 1798-?)
md. John Coffman
Mary Crobarger (1800-1888)
md. Abraham Haybarger
Catherine Crobarger (1806-1869)
md. John Hawpe
John Kyle Crobarger (1807-1878)
md. 1st Emily Harris
md. 2nd Elizabeth Hansberry
md. 3rd Harriet Hays
Henry S. Crobarger (c. 1808-1846)
md. Nancy Shields
George W. Crobarger (c. 1810-1878)
Rachel Crobarger (???)
md. Solomon Wood
Susannah Crobarger (c. 1816-1877)
md. John A. Shields
He married second Elizabeth Wingfield, widow of John Hays, on June 30, 1834 in Albemarle Co., Virginia.
They had no children.

His birthname was Johann George Crobarger (named after his uncle), but he always went by his middle name George. He moved with his family to Rockingham County, Virginia in about 1793, where he married and began raising his family. In 1802 or 1803, he moved to adjacent Augusta County, Virginia; where he remained until his death. George was a miller.

5Eva "Eve" Crobarger was born on June 19, 1777 in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She was baptized on September 14, 1777 in thee Old Zion Church, Brickerville, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She died in 1856 in Chambersburg, Franklin Co., Pennsylvania. She is buried in the First Lutheran Church Cemetery, Chambersburg, Franklin Co., Pennsylvania.
She married Wendel Houser circa 1792 in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania.
They had the following children:
Jacob Houser (1794-1864)
md. Martha Burkholder
George Houser (c. 1796-aft. 1860)
md. Lydia Shearer
Mary Houser (1799-1871)
md. Adam Burkholder
Peter Houser (1802-1877)
md. Margaret Steele
Samuel James Houser (1804-1887)
Elizabeth Houser (c. 1808-aft. 1860)
David Houser (c. 1812-aft. 1880)
md. Charlotte Jerrett
Michael Houser (c. 1814-1882)
md. Maria
Margaret Houser (c. 1816-???)
Catherine Houser (c. 1818-???)
There is no evidence that Eve Houser was the daughter of Michael and Eva Crobarger, but I've made the leap because of the use of certain names for herself and her children (Eve, George, Michael, Catherine, Jacob) and because of the timeline and geographic locations. We know that Eve spent her adulthood in Franklin County, Pennsylvania; which is exactly where the family of Michael and Eva Crobarger lived between roughly the late 1770s and early 1790s. In addition, two of Eve's sons moved to Augusta County, Virginia in their adulthood, where George Crobarger, son of Michael and Eva, lived (yet they would have been following a common migration pattern).

Eve was raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She probably married in the early 1790s, before her parents and siblings moved away to Virginia. Eve remained in Franklin County, Pennsylvania for the duration of her life. She first lived in Hamilton Township and then in Chambersburg. Her husband wrote his will in 1836, in which he named his wife and 10 children.

6Catherine Crobarger
7Christina Crobarger was born on or about December 16, 1777 in Pennsylvania. She died on February 6, 1861 in Clinton Co., Indiana. She is buried in the Kilmore United Methodist Church Cemetery, Frankfort, Clinton Co., Indiana.
She married George Pence on September 25, 1798 in Rockingham Co., Virginia. He was born circa 1774 in Augusta Co., Virginia and died in 1828 in Rockingham Co., Virginia.
They had the following children:
Margaret Pence (1799-???)
md. Valentine Pence
Sarah Pence (1801-1871)
md. 1st George Kyger
md. 2nd Charles Persinger Pence
Samuel Pence (1803-1841)
William Pence (c. 1804-aft. 1850)
Mary Pence (c. 1806-???)
md. John Zerkel
Abner Crowbarger Pence (1808-1809)
md. 1st Sarah S. Taylor
md. 2nd Barbary Utz
Abigail Pence (1808-1881)
md. Jacob Kiblinger
Cyrus Pence (1810-1867)
md. Elizabeth Stafford
Sylvester Pence (1813-1883)
George Pence (c. 1815-1830s)
Michael Crowbarger Pence (1817-1896)
md. Susan Stafford
Valentine Pence (1819-1893)
md. Catharine F. Stafford
Elizabeth Pence (c. 1820-1837)
Lucinda Pence (1821-1907)
md. James Stafford

When Christina was married in 1798, she was explicitly described as the daughter of Michael Crowbarger. In addition, she named one of her sons Michael Crowbarger Pence and she lived in Rockingham County, Virginia where Michael Crobarger lived with his family. However, Michael had another documented daughter, Eva, who was born in June 1777 - just 6 months before Christina. If both of these dates are correct, then Christina cannot have been the daughter of Michael. In addition, if Catherine Crobarger (1777-1875) - who shares her birth date - was her twin, then it contradicts the fact that Michael and Eva had another daughter named Catherine, who was born in 1772 and who survived to adulthood. The other possibility then is that Christina and Catherine were the daughters of Michael's brother George. Perhaps the family was separated for some reason and Christina was sent to live with her uncle Michael.

Christina was married in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1798 and she and her husband continued living there after their marriage, where all of their children were born. Christina was still in Rockingham County as late as 1830, when she was head of her own household. Her whereabouts after this are unknown, but she eventually moved to Clinton County, Indiana to live with one of her children who lived there.

6Jacob Crobarger was born between 1774 and 1790, probably in Pennsylvania, and died after 1817.
I have only found three references with Jacob's name. It is only an inference/guess that he was the son of Michael and Eva. In one undated refrence, Michael and Eve Crobager sold land to Jacob Crowbarger in Sullivan County, Virginia [Tennessee?]. And in the other, Jacob was listed on an 1811-1812 tax list in Sullivan County, Tennessee, near Michael Crobarger. And in the third, in 1817 Jacob purchased a lot of land in the town of Estillville [now Gate City], in Scott County, Virginia. I am guessing that Jacob died not long after this and probably left no surviving descendants.
Michael married second to Elizabeth, widow of Caleb Thompson, on April 29, 1797 in Rockingham County, Virginia.
She probably died sometime between 1797 and 1813. However, she may have been the Elizabeth Crobarger who was enumerated in her own household in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1810. Was Elizabeth left behind when her husband moved to Tennessee?
Michael married third to Eva Lauderbach, sometime between 1797 and 1813 in Virginia or Tennessee. She probably died after 1820.
In an 1813 deed in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Michael's wife was described as "Eva Crowbarger his wife, formerly Eva Lowderback". They had probably not been married for long, perhaps in Tennessee. Eva was probably related to the family of David Lauderbach who died in 1793 in what is now Page County, Virginia. The best guess is that she was Eve, wife of his son John, who was described on a deed in 1794.
George Crobarger was born circa 1750, probably in Germany or Pennsylvania. He died sometime between 1812 and 1823 in Hawkins Co., Tennessee.

His name was originally Johann George Crobarger, but he apparently always went by his middle name. George's birth place and birth date is unknown. He was probably born in the late 1740s or early 1750s; either in Germany or Pennsylvania. He was apparently raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and it was there that he was probably married in the mid-1770s, but record of the marriage has not survived. His wife at the end of his life was named Mary (she was described in his will and she survived him). It is entirely possible though that she was a later wife and not necessarily the mother of his children.

George was sponsor to the baptism of two of his brother Michael's children, in 1772 and 1775. During this time, George apparently lived somewhere in the vicinty of Brickerville in Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Sometime between 1777 and 1779, the entire family apparently moved west to what is now Letterkenny Township in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

George was on tax lists for Letterkenny Township in 1780 and 1782, and moved away not long after. By 1787, George had moved to Botetourt County, Virginia, where he lived for about 10 years with his family. In 1796, George was described as a weaver when a mullato boy was "bound" to him. George was also a slave owner by the end of his life. In about 1797, George moved away from Botetourt County, Virginia. His whereabouts for the next 12 years are unknown, but he eventually moved to the Holston River Valley of southwest Virginia/northeast Tennessee. In 1809, he was living in Hawkins County, Tennessee. George lived in Hawkins County, Tennessee, and was probably in the northeast part of that county, near what is now Kingsport, Tennessee, and also near the borders with Scott County, Virginia and Sullivan County, Tennessee. He also owned land in Sullivan County, Tennessee. George is last found on records in 1812, when he deeded slaves to Jacob Seaver (his son-in-law). George had died sometime before 1823, when there was a lawsuit between his widow and his son-in-law regarding ownership of those slaves.

George wrote his will, which was undated and left his entire estate to his wife Mary. The only other family he named was his daughter Hetty [Esther] Seaver, who was left one dollar and nothing else. Apparently, the belief is that George and Mary were not happy with their daughter for moving away (to Indiana) with the slaves. It is entirely possible that George had other children that were not named in his will; their inheritances perhaps already having been provided for. John Critz was designated as a joint executor of his will and was also involved in the lawsuit with Jacob Seaver. John was married to Susannah Crobarger, who was probably his daughter. Other possible children were twins Christina Crobarger Pence (1777-1861) and Catherine Crobarger (1777-1875), as well as Jacob Crobarger (who lived in the vicinity of Scott County, Virginia during the 1810s).

He married Mary probably circa 1775 in Pennsylvania. She was born at an unknown date and died after 1823.
Mary was described in the undated will of George Crobarger and left his entire estate. She and George lived together in Hawkins County, Tennessee. After his death, she apparently moved to neighboring Scott County, Virginia. In 1823, when she was involved in a lawsuit with her son-in-law, she was described as a resident of Scott County, Virginia. There are no known records of her after this date. She probably died, or was remarried, before 1830.
They may have had the following children:
1Susannah "Susan" Crobarger was born circa 1776 in Pennsylvania. She died in June 1860 in Hawkins County, Tennessee.
She married John Critz circa 1790, probably in Botetourt Co., Virginia. John was born circa 1772 in Washington Co., Maryland and died sometime between 1840 and 1850 in Hawkins Co., Tennessee.
They may have had one known child:
Philip Critz (1792-1879)
md. 1st unknown
md. 2nd Ann Kinkead McPheeters Thurman
Susannah and her husband lived in Botetourt County, Virginia for a few years after their marriage. Sometime during the 1790s, they probably moved to Hawkins County, Tennessee; along with various relatives. Susannah apparently remained in Hawkins County until her death. Although Philip Critz (1792-1879) is often listed as their son, other researchers think that she had no children and that Philip was actually the younger brother of her husband John Critz. Susannah wrote her will in 1857, in which the only heirs she named were Mary, David, Samuel and John Kinkead (without indicating how or if she was related to them). These people were the daughter and grandchildren of Philip Critz (1792-1879). In 1830, Susannah's household probably included Mary Critz Kinkead; the daughter of Philip.
2Esther Crobarger was born on March 22, 1780 in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania. She died on July 29, 1854 in Switzerland Co., Indiana.
She married Jacob Seaver circa 1796, probably in Botetourt Co., Virginia. He was born on January 15, 1773 and died sometime between 1821 and 1830 in Switzerland Co., Indiana.
They had the following children:
William Seaver (1800-)
Jeremiah Searver (1801-1877)
Henry Seaver (1803-1867)
Joseph Seaver (1805-1885)
George Seaver (1807-)
Melinda Seaver (1808-1879)
Elizabeth Seaver (1812-1882)
Mary Seaver (1812-1888)
Jacob Shever Seaver (1814-1883)
Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1816-1883)
John Croberger Seaver (1818-1903)
Esther Susannah Seaver (1820-1872)
Greenberry McKinsey Seaver (1823-1905)

Esther "Hetty" was probably married to Jacob Seaver in 1795 or 1796. In about 1797, the entire family apparently moved away from Botetourt County, Virginia. In 1803, Jacob was described as a resident of Hawkins County, Tennessee. They apparently lived across the state line in the part of Washington County, Virginia that became Scott County, Virginia in 1814. In about 1820, the family moved to Switzerland County, Indiana. Esther remained there until her death.

2nd Generation:

Catherine Crobarger was born on or about December 16, 1777 4,12 in Pennsylvania. She died on March 4, 1875 near Galesville, Douglas Co., Oregon 4,12.

Father: Michael Crobarger or George Crobarger
Mother: Eva Barbara Lenherr or Mary

It has long been the assumption of other researchers that her name was Catherine McCreedy and that she was married to George Washington Crobarger. In reality, McCreedy was just one person's misreading of Crobarger on one census record (which looked like "Crobreedy") and her husband's full name was just a guess based on the name of their son. All we know is that in 1830, she was the head of her own household in Jefferson County, Tennessee and was living with four children (enumerated as Katharine Croborger). The assumption had been that her husband, an unknown Mr. Crobarger, was dead and she was a widow. She used the name Crobarger for the next 45 years until her death in 1875. It was only recently that I began to wonder whether Crobarger was her birth name and whether she ever married the father(s) of her children. She was never explicitly described as the wife or widow of anyone, and surviving family histories are strangely silent on the subject of the father of her children. I then realized that Catherine shared a birthdate (December 16, 1777) with Christina Crobarger Pence (see above), who was related to the same Crobarger family we know this family was somehow related to. If these two women were twins, it would make sense because twins definitely occurred among descendants of both of them.

If Catherine was the twin of Christina Crobarger Pence, it is not clear who their parents were. Various evidence suggests that Christina was the daughter of Michael and Barbara Crobarger, including her marriage bond which specifically listed her as the daughter of Michael. The easiest assumption then is that Catherine and Christina were the daughters of Michael and Barbara Crobarger. However, that is contradicted by the fact that Michael and Barbara had another documented daughter, Eva, born in June 1777 - just 6 months before Christina and Catherine. Either one of the dates is wrong, or Catherine and Christina were not really children of Michael and Barbara. In addition, Michael and Barbara had another documented daughter named Catharina, born in 1772, who survived into adulthood to marry and raise children. If that is true, then Catherine Crobarger born in 1777 was probably not the daughter of Michael and Barbara Crobarger (although it is definitely possible that they had two daughters named Catherine, especially in a German family where children usually had multiple names). If Christina and Catherine were not daughters of Michael; then it is most likely that they were daughters of Michael's brother George Crobarger. A connection to George Crobarger makes sense in Catherine's case, because in adulthood she lived near members of his family and followed migration patterns of some of his descendants. Years later, Catherine's son married the niece-in-law of George's daughter Esther. In addition, I have two autosomal DNA match with descendants of George's daughter Esther. If Catherine was Esther's sister, then I would be 6th cousins with the people I've matched with. If, instead, Catherine was Esther's first cousin, then I would be 7th cousins with those people - and slightly less likely to match with them based on how autosomal DNA matching works. However, the George theory doesn't explain why Christina Crobarger was described as Michael's daughter or was in Rockingham County, Virginia; as there is no evidence that George Crobarger ever lived there. However, we know that George moved away from Botetourt County, Virginia in about 1797 and is absent from records until 1809 - it's entirely possible that he briefly moved to Rockingham County. The extended family was also very close, and it is also possible that some of the children went to live at times with different relatives. There is also the possibility that Christina and Catherine were not actually twins and that it was just a coincidence that they were born on the same day.

Regardless of her exact parentage, Catherine Crobarger was probably born in either Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (where both George and Michael Crobarger were living as late as June 1777) or Franklin County, Pennsylvania (where they were both living in 1780). The family of George Crobarger moved to Botetourt County, Virginia in about 1786 and the family of Michael Crobarger moved to Rockingham County, Virginia in about 1793. George Crobarger left Botetourt County in about 1797 and eventually moved to the Holston River Valley area of northeast Tennessee before 1809. Michael Crobarger was still living in Rockingham County as late as 1807, but sometime after that he also moved to the Holston River Valley. The whereabouts of Catherine between the 1790s and early 1800s is unknown, but she moved with her family to the Holston River Valley area at some point during her young adulthood. In 1808 (when she was 30), Catherine's first known child - George Washington Crobarger - was born somewhere in Virginia. Then in 1809, her second child - Susannah Crobarger - was born somewhere in Tennessee. Her third child - Francis Asbury Crobarger - was born in 1813 in Tennessee. Her fourth child - Harriet Catherine Crobarger - was born in 1816 or 1817, probably in Virginia.

Between the 1800 and 1820s, her possible places of residence include: Hawkins County, Tennessee (where both George and Michael Crobarger were documented as living), in Sullivan County, Tennessee (where Michael and Jacob Crobarger owned land in 1811-1812), in Grainger County, Tennessee (where one unverified source indicates her daughter was born in 1809), in Jefferson County, Tennessee (where she was living in 1830 and 1834), in Scott County, Virginia (where Esther Crobarger Seaver and Jacob Crobarger lived), in Rockingham County, Virginia (where Catherine Crobarger Koontz, Christina Crobarger Pence, and later Michael Crobarger, lived) or in Augusta County, Virginia (where George Crobarger, son of Michael, lived).

My guess is that all four children were born to the same father, who may have had Cherokee or Melungeon ancestry, which might explain why they were never married. The birthplaces of her children suggest that they moved around relatively frequently during this time period. She is first named in contemporary records in 1830, when she was head of her household in Jefferson County, Tennessee. In Jefferson County, they were relatively close to other relatives, including Susannah Crobarger Critz (either sister or cousin) who lived in Hawkins County, Tennessee and also cousins by marriage, the Lamar family, who lived in Jefferson County, Tennessee. In 1834, her daughter Susannah was married in Jefferson County. Soon after this, Catherine probably moved with her children to the state of Indiana (perhaps Switzerland or Clinton County), where they only lived briefly. In about 1838, they moved to Platte Co., Missouri. In 1840, she was living in a household in Platte County with her two sons. In 1846, she crossed the Oregon Trail with youngest daughter Harriet and family. They lived in at least 4 different locations in Oregon before settling in the tiny town of Galesville, in Douglas County, Oregon in about 1863. Catherine resided there until her death in 1875, at the age of 97. Scrutinization of known burial records so far have come up empty. She was either buried in an unmarked grave on the family estate, in an unmarked grave in the Glendale Cemetery (even though their earliest known burial was in 1883), or in an unmarked grave in the Quines Creek/Gilliam Cemetery.

In 1873, Catherine applied for a homestead for 162 acres near Galesville, which was approved and she was issued a patent for that land the same year. In her application, she indicated she settled that land in 1867 and built a small house the same year (12 x 14 foot house with an add-on 10 x 11 foot kitchen). She also indicated she cultivated one acre of the land, built a barn and fenced in 12 acres. Since Catherine was 89 years old in 1867 and living with her daughter's family, it is likely that her son-in-law or grandson filed for the homestead in her name only.

She had a relationship with an unknown man (possibly Cherokee) during the early 1800s. He was born at an unknown date, probably in Virginia and he may have died sometime between about 1816 and 1830, probably in Tennessee.

Upon consideration of various family legends and DNA test results of some of his descendants, my guess is that the father of at least one of Catherine Crobarger's children may have had ancestry that included Cherokee or Melungeon blood. Catherine Crobarger had four known children born between 1808 and 1816. A compelling theory is that she never married and all four of her children used her maiden name - Crobarger - as their own. There are stories in at least two branches of the family that they descended in some way from Native Americans. In addition, DNA tests on AncestryDNA of five descendants of her daughter Harriet show relatively high amount of DNA from the Caucasus region of the Middle East. This is baffling, but seems to agree with some research that certain Cherokee Indians actually display Middle Eastern or North African DNA. As far as I know, there is no consensus about how or why that is the case, but it may explain the "Caucasus" DNA among Crobarger descendants and also may identify them as Cherokee descendants. Similarly, DNA tests for Crobarger descendants on 23andMe show trace DNA from "North Africa and Arabia", which seems to corroborate this theory. Even if this unknown man was not Cherokee, it seems likely that he had some non-European ancestry. Much more detail on this theory is in my blog post DNA Research.

The Cherokees had a matriarchal society, and clan identity was passed down through the mother. This might explain why the children of this union took the mother's last name. In addition, it may also be relevant to note that their second son was named after Francis Asbury; a famous preacher/bishop who was responsible for spreading Methodism throughout America. Perhaps this might be an indication that this unidentified man was converted by Christian missionaries and that there was a conscious effort to abandon his tribal identity, which might also explain why all four children were given "white" names.

This man was probably born somewhere in southwest Virginia and lived in Virginia and Tennessee as an adult. He died sometime after 1816-1817, when his youngest child was conceived. He had probably died before 1830 when he was not enumerated in Catherine's household, although that is not necessarily an indication that he was not alive.

A wild guess/theory: In 1796 in Botetourt County, Virginia, a "mulatto boy" named Reuben Dale was bound to George Crobarger (either Catherine's father or uncle). Historically, the term mulatto could have been used to describe anyone of mixed ethnicity, including Native Americans. I am not sure what being "bound" meant, but I assume it was as a servant or an apprentice. Catherine would have been 18 years old at the time. Perhaps she had a relationship and children with her father's ward/apprentice, Reuben Dale, who had some kind of mixed ethnic ancestry.

However if my theory is incorrect and this man really was a Crobarger, then it is most likely that he was Jacob Crobarger, who was probably the son of Michael and Barbara Crobarger. The identity of his wife/widow Catherine then would still be unknown.

They had at least the following children:
1 George Washington Crobarger was born on May 22, 1808 in Virginia 5. He died on March 25, 1875 in Platte Co., Missouri 5.
He married first to Elizabeth Young Cooper on February 2, 1843 in Platte Co., Missouri 3.
They had the following children:
John R. Crobarger (1844-aft. 1860)
Mary Catherine Crobarger (1844-1928)
md. Lewis C. Magers
George Washington Crobarger (1847-1931)
md. Armilda Anderson
Robert Hall Crobarger (1848-1925)
He married second Elizabeth Remington, widow of Mr. Horr, on June 7, 1855 in Platte Co., Missouri.
They had one child:
Eugene S. Crobarger (1858-1934)

George was a farmer. He resided in Platte County, Missouri from the late 1830s until his death in 1875, while his mother and all of his siblings had moved away from that area. In later years, George was a slave owner and a supporter of the Confederacy during the Civil War. His oldest son John served in the Confederate Army.

2 Susannah Crobarger was born on August 29, 1809 in Tennessee 5. She died on December 23, 1882 in Lookingglass, Douglas Co., Oregon 5. She is buried in the Lookingglass Cemetery, Lookingglass, Douglas Co., Oregon.
She married Samuel Creswell Braden on January 28, 1834 in Jefferson Co., Tennessee 5. (He was born on October 11, 1811 in Claiborne Co., Tennessee and died on August 11, 1895 in Myrtle Point, Coos Co., Oregon. He is buried in the Lookingglass Cemetery, Lookingglass, Douglas Co., Oregon.)
They had the following children:
Francis Asbury Braden (1835-1894)
md. Sarah Caroline Buell
Rebecca Catherine Braden (1837-1892)
md. Phillip Arthur Decker
America Agnes Braden (1841-1878)
md. Daniel Giles
Alice Braden (1844-1923)
md. Jasper Daff Livingston
Virginia Susannah Braden (1847-1925)
md. Franklin Cyrus Buell
Margaret Missouri Braden (c. 1849-1876)
md. Thomas Jefferson Rowley
John Jacob Astor Braden (1851-1929)
md. Dora Maria Eagan

Census records consistently list Susannah's birth place in Tennessee. My guess then is that she was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, where other Crobarger relatives were living at that time. There are some online family trees which provide her birth place as nearby Grainger County, Tennessee; which is possible, but there is no evidence that any of the family ever lived there. Susannah apparently spent parts of her youth in both Tennessee and Virginia. Susannah was married in 1834, at the age of 24. Then in 1834 or 1835, she and her husband (and possibly her mother and siblings) moved to somewhere in the state of Indiana; where the only remained a few years. In about 1838, they moved to Platte County, Missouri; where they lived for many years. In 1846, Susannah's mother and sister moved to Oregon on the Oregon Trail and apparently influenced Susannah's family to make the same trip. In 1852, Susannah and her family crossed the Oregon Trail and settled in Douglas County, Oregon; where her sister and mother were living. They first lived in Roseburg, Oregon, before moving out to the coast near what is now Coos Bay, Oregon.

3 "Berry" Francis Asbury Crobarger was born on November 9, 1813 13 or November 20, 1815 5 in Tennessee. He died on November 9, 1881 in Nortonville, Jefferson Co., Kansas 5,13. He is buried in the Nortonville Cemetery, Nortonville, Jefferson Co., Kansas.
He married Ann Lamar on January 7, 1845 in Platte Co., Missouri 3. (She was born on February 17, 1809 in Jefferson Co., Tennessee and died on November 3, 1893 in Nortonville, Jefferson Co., Kansas. She was buried in the Nortonville Cemetery, Nortonville, Jefferson Co., Kansas.)
They had one child:
John Marcus Crobarger (1848-1908)

Francis and Ann were cousins by marriage (not by blood), and likely knew each other from their youth in eastern Tennessee. Ann's uncle, Jacob Seaver, was married to Esther Crobarger - who was either the sister or the first cousin of Francis' mother Catherine Crobarger.

For the first 10 years of marriage, Francis and his family lived in Platte County, Missouri. In the spring of 1855, they moved to Jefferson County, Kansas; where they settled off of the Crooked River, near Nortonville. He lived there until his death in 1881 from heart disease. He was primarily a farmer and stock raiser, but also apparently operated a hotel for a brief period during the 1860s.

According to one source, he "had odd ways and notions. A staunch Presbyterian, he always kept whisky about his house, asserting it to be a blessing of God to be enjoyed as other blessings. No one ever saw him intoxicated. Temperate and industrious he was a prosperous farmer. The first cabin he built happened to be burned down in his absence, he remarked when told of it that it lacked 3/4 of an inch of being square anyhow and he didn't care if it did burn." He also was a free-state advocate in Kansas, was opposed to slavery, and a supporter of the North during the Civil War. This was interesting because his brother George Crobarger - who lived about 30 miles away in Missouri - was a slaver owner and a supporter of the South/Confederacy during the Civil War. Apparently Francis' political beliefs against slavery made him endure "many persecutions at the hands of the border ruffians. For about two years he was kept away from home, visiting his family only under cover of the night, or at times when an opportunity offered itself, there being a reward of $100 offered for his head."

4 Harriet Catherine Crobarger

2nd Generation:

Harriet Catherine Crobarger was born on about November 15, 1816 6 or on about December 15, 1817 7, probably in Virginia. She died on March 7 7,8, March 8 2,6 or March 9 9, 1884 in Galesville, Douglas Co., Oregon.

Father: Unknown
Mother:: Catherine Crobarger

Contemporary sources (census enumerations of herself and her children) are not consistent in whether Harriet was born in Virginia or Tennessee. My guess though is that she was born in Virginia, and raised in Tennessee. During that time period, her extended family lived near each other and straddled the border between Scott County, Virginia and Hawkins County, Tennessee. Harriet probably spent parts of her youth in both places. Sometime in the 1810s, Michael Crobarger (either her grandfather or great-uncle) had apparently returned to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and it is possible that Harriet's family followed him there. If so, it's possible Harriet was born in Rockingham County, Virginia where Michael Crobarger, Christina Crobarger Pence and Catherine Crobarger Koontz were living. A more likely possibility though is that she was born in Scott County, Virginia, where both Jacob Crobarger and Esther Crobarger Seaver lived during the 1810s. Harriet and her family had probably returned to Tennessee by 1820, because they do not appear to have been enumerated in any of their relatives' households in Virginia in that year (and the 1820 census of Tennessee has been lost).

Regardless of where she was born, Harriet was eventually raised in northeast Tennessee. My guess is that Harriet was half German and half Cherokee. Her parents were never married and it is not clear what happened to her father. But he was dead or out of the picture by 1830. In 1830 and 1834, they were living in Jefferson Co., Tennessee. In Jefferson County, they were probably in the northern part of the county that later became Hamblen County. There is a strong possibility that Harriet and her family moved to somewhere in Indiana in the mid-1830s. If so, they only remained in Indiana for about 3 years. In about 1838, the family moved out west and settled in Platte County, Missouri a frontier area that had recently been opened up for settlement. Shortly after moving there, Harriet became engaged to William Martin, whose family were among the earliest white settlers of the county. They were married in 1839 in Martinsville (now Platte City), Missouri.

After the marriage, William and Harriet continued living in Platte County, Missouri. In 1843, William left on an expedition train to the Oregon Territory, leaving Harriet behind to care for their infant daughter. William returned the following year and immediately began making plans to move the entire family west to Oregon. In the spring of 1846, Harriet and her family left their home in Missouri and made the trek over the Oregon Trail, arriving in northern Oregon in September 1846. The family settled in Lafayette in Yamhill County, Oregon. There, William operated a general store. Then in 1851, the family moved to southern Oregon where they took advantage of the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 and settled a claim of 640 acres near Winchester in Douglas County, Oregon. In Winchester, William reopened his general store. They remained on their Winchester farm until 1859, when they moved to the nearby city of Roseburg, Oregon. In that same year, Harriet signed an affidavit stating that she had property separate from her husband (the location of the property is not known). They only lived briefly in the city of Roseburg. In about 1861, they moved to the nearby town of Myrtle Creek, where William attempted a short career as a miller. Then in about 1863, they moved a final time to a farm near Galesville in southern Douglas County, Oregon. There, in 1867, her husband was operating a hotel.

Harriet spent the rest of her life residing at the family's home at Galesville (now near Azalea), in the Cow Creek Valley of Douglas County, Oregon. She died from paralysis (probably a stroke) in March of 1884, at the age of 66 or 67. Harriet's place of burial has not been located. She was probably buried on the family farm near Galesville (which is today between Glendale and Azalea) or perhaps in the Glendale Cemetery. Although her grave (wherever it is) is probably unmarked, we do know that her daughter Josephine paid for a marble headstone for her grave in May 1884.

Harriet married William Jennings Martin on July 16 2,9 or August 22 3,10,11, 1839 at Platte City, Platte Co., Missouri.
For more information on her children, see his page.


1. Assorted US Federal Census Records
2. Obituary of William J. Martin, Roseburg Plaindealer, April 29, 1901
3. Missouri Marriages to 1850,
4. Death Notice of Catherine Crobarger, Jacksonville Democratic Times, April 23, 1875
5. Online gedcom family files
6. Death Notice of Harriet C. Martin, The Douglas Independent [Roseburg, OR], Mar. 22, 1884
7. Death notice of Harriet C. Martin, Oregon Sentinel [Jacksonville, OR], Mar. 15, 1884, Pg. 3
8. Death notice of Harriet C. Martin, The Coast Mail [Marshfield, OR], Mar. 27, 1884, Pg. 3
9. Information from Ralph Roberts at
10. Marriage record of William Martin and Harriet Crobarger, 1839, Platte Co., Missouri. Marriage Register, Volume 1, Page 5.
11. Paxton, W.M. Annals of Platte County, Missouri. Hudson Kimberly Publishing Co., 1897.
12. Death notice of Catharine Crobarger, The Oregonian [Portland, OR], Apr. 27, 1875, Pg. 2
13. Tombstone inscriptions, Nortonville Cemetery, Nortonville, Kansas
14. Transcription [from 1937] of St. John Cemetery, Augusta Co., Virginia.