Our BEAVER Ancestors

Michael MOCK (b1775, d1843) was a widower when he moved his family to Marion County, Indiana, in 1833. His wife, born Anna Barbara BEAVER (b1787, d1821), had died in Butler County, Ohio, a dozen years earlier, when their youngest child, John MOCK, was little more than one year old. There is no hard proof of Anna Barbara's ancestry, but lots of circumstantial evidence to trace her ancestry back to BEAVER family members who emigrated around 1750 from Hirschland in northern Alsace, a part of Germany that borders on France. Unless otherwise attributed, the evidence reported below was accumulated over the past few of years by several BEAVER genealogists; most notably, these were Mike KLOENNE, Candi McDANIEL, Margie vonMARENHOLTZ, Douglas BEAVER, Buford RIMMER, Steve RUSSELL, and me.

North Carolina genealogist, Buford RIMMER in his "BEAVER Book," prepared for a 1998 BEAVER family reunion, says the BIEBERs were originally French Huguenots (protestants). He quotes a 1936 letter by a BEAVER descendant, which says: "The DeBEAUVIOR family is the Biber-BEAVER family in Germany. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the Huguenots were forced to leave France and they went to Deux Pont, Alsace, where they took the German equivalent of their name."

There is another family tradition, repeated by genealogist Margie von Marenholtz, that the BEAVERs were originally an English family, living in Germany, who emigrated to America because they wanted their children to live in an English-speaking environment. This tradition is somewhat suspect, since the BEAVERs, once in America decided to settle in German-speaking "Pennsylvania Dutch" communities in Pennsylvania.

The earliest known records of Anna Barbara's BEAVER ancestors in America are in ship passenger lists, and the diaries of German Lutheran ministers in Berks and Lehigh Counties of Eastern PA. There the name is usually spelled Bieber or Biber, which is the German word for beaver (the animal), and is pronounced the same way. The English-speaking census takers and tax collectors of the Eighteenth usually spelled the name phonetically the way they heard it, and sometimes wrote Bever or Beever.

Anna Barbara BEAVER and Michael MOCK were married in Rowan County, NC, in 1804. The marriage-bond document was signed on August 1, 1804, by Michael MOCK and Davolt BEAVER. Davolt BEAVER was Anna Barbara's brother-in-law, the husband of her older sister, Betsy BEAVER -- and most probably he was also a distant cousin. But the strong circumstantial evidence from census records of 1790 and 1800, and from family associations (described later on) are that her father was a Henry BEAVER, who was probably born in Lehigh County, PA, about 1752, and died in Hamilton County, IN, sometime in the 1830s.

Although no record has been found of Henry BEAVER's birth or baptism, it is probable that his father was the Michael BIBER, who arrived in the port of Philadelphia 1751 on the ship Brothers. This Michael BEAVER was one of the founders of the Weisenberg Lutheran Church in Weisenberg Township, on the western edge of Lehigh County, PA. This church had no pastor for the first few years after its founding in 1751, and there were no records kept of births during that time. There is no proof that this Michael BEAVER was Henry's father, but he was the only known BEAVER of about the right age in the geographic vicinity of the place Henry was confirmed.

Where Beaver Ancestors Lived in PA.

The Rev. Daniel SCHUMACHER was a popular, German-born Lutheran minister in both the Weisenberg Church in Lehigh County and the nearby "White Friedens" or "Allemangel" Lutheran Church in Stony Run, Albany Township, northeast Berks County, PA, very near the Lehigh-County line. According to Mike KLOENNE, who has searched the microfilms, Rev. Schumacher recorded the confirmation, in 1766, of Henry BEAVER, and both the baptism and 1769 confirmation of Eva Catherine DRIESSEN (or DRIESS -- the German custom for daughters was to add the suffix "en" to the father's surname). We know from Schumacher's record of the baptism of their son George (or Johannes George)that Eva Catherine (b June 2, 1755) was Henry's wife, and that confirmation was a ceremony normally done at puberty, so Kloenne infers Henry must have been born about 1752. Wife Eva Catherine was the daughter of Peter and Catherine DRIESS of Berks County. In tax records and early censuses, DRIESS is often spelled Trees, or some phonetic equivalent.

Rev. SCHUMACHER's records begin in 1755 and end about 1779, so it isn't surprising that records of Henry's baptism or records of other births, deaths, etc., of the family haven't been found. Both the research of Noblesville genealogist Lyneen BURROWS and a genealogical record from Iredell County, NC, copied by Buford RIMMER say Henry was born in 1755. There is also some conflict with census records in NC that would indicate Henry was somewhat older than this, and the placement of reference to George BEAVER's confirmation in the book 18th Century Emigrants from Northern Alsace has been interpreted by some Beaver researchers to imply that the husband of Eva Catherine was a Henry BEAVER confirmed in Germany in 1740. Since it's unlikely our Henry was confirmed a second time at the late age 25 or so, this older Henry, who came to America on the same 1751 ship (named Brothers) as Michael BEAVER, was probably our Henry's uncle. In any case, Rev. SCHUMACHER also recorded the baptism of a 6-week-old son, George, on 4 July 1773 in "the new church in Allemangel." Young George's parents are listed as Heinrich and Eva Catherina; he was "sponsored by" George KISTLER, for whom he may have been named.

Perhaps the best evidence that Henry BEAVER (b abt 1752, d abt 1835) was the father of Anna Barbara is the close association of the Michael MOCK family with this oldest son, George BEAVER (b 1773, d abt 1835), in both Butler County, OH, and Marion Co., IN. When Henry BEAVER moved to Butler County, OH, circa 1810-1815, the families of his sons George, Christopher and Henry jr. did the same; so did the families of Henry's sons-in-law Michael MOCK and John HILEMAN. When the families of Christopher, Henry, and Henry jr. moved to Marion County, IN, about 1825, they were followed, in 1833, by the families of Michael MOCK and George BEAVER, and the families of several of George's married sons and daughters (Solomon BEAVER, Henry aka "Little Red" BEAVER, Jacob LINGLE jr, and Daniel BEAVER) -- so did the family of Eve BEAVER, who must have been either a widow of another Henry BEAVER son or an unwed mother. Michael MOCK and at least one of George BEAVER's sons were buried in the same small Bills Cemetery, near old Germantown in Marion County, IN, on land entered by George BEAVER.

Sometime after the birth of Henry and Eva Catherine BEAVER's first two children, they and other BEAVERs left eastern Pennsylvania. By the time of the first comprehensive U.S. Census, in 1790, the family was living in Rowan County, NC. There is a family tradition that they spent some years in VA (or WV) along the way, but that any records of their stay there were lost when Indians burned the courthouse.

The wedding of Anna Barbara BEAVER and Michael MOCK was recorded in the Account Book of Pastor Storch, now in the archives of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod in Salisbury, NC. A typed transcription of the original German script written by Storch contains an entry dated June 11, 1804, which reads "13Gprifer b.3.1 Angl. coupl. M. Meck mit H. Bieber" on one line and "copuli(rt) Mich. Miller mit Barb. Bieber" on the line immediately below. The German word couplirt means married and mit means with; other similar passages in the Storch book imply that "13Gprifer b.3.1 Angl." may refer to something, like a Bible passage, Storch read at the ceremony, and the list of four names may mean this was a double wedding. Perhaps the church wedding was June 11, and the couple "made it legal" on August 1, in a double wedding with H. BIEBER and Mich. MILLER.

Where Beavers and Mocks Lived in NC.

Other entries in the Pastor Storch Account Book indicate that these BEAVERs were part of the "Irish Settlement." According to David Cherry, BEAVER genealogist who lives in the area, "Henry settled near the Albrights. They were and some still are on Patterson Road. The old Albright cemetery is located where the family settled. This is very near the headwaters of Sloan Creek... Highway 150 crosses Sloan Creek very near to Thyatrira Presbyterian Church which is at the community of Millbridge.

Michael MOCK's father, Thomas MOCK, owned land in a nearby area that is now northern Kannapolis, NC, and along Coddle Creek in neighboring Cabarrus County; Michael's mother, Mary MOCK nee WINECOFF (b1748, d1816), is buried not far from there in what was the churchyard of the "Savitz Church" just south of present-day China Grove, NC. The Beavers probably this Savitz Church, and many with the Beaver surname are buried in the old churchyard there. Census records show that the Thomas MOCK family lived in Cabbarus County, NC, a mile or so to the south of the land he owned in Rowan County, and Thomas himself is buried in the Cold Water Lutheran Church in Cabbarus, a few miles east of modern Concord, NC. Other BEAVERs -- Peter, Michael and David -- cousins from PA -- owned land at this time a few miles further east in southern Rowan County, near the "Organ Church."

North Carolina genealogist Steve Russell says that land records in Rowan County, NC, show George BEAVER and his younger brother, Christian (aka Christopher) BEAVER, sold Henry BEAVER's land in North Carolina before both moved to Butler County, Ohio, circa 1815. The Michael MOCK family made the same move at the same time. Butler County tax records show that George BEAVER paid real-estate taxes on a 200-acre parcel in Ross/St. Clair Township of Butler County up until he moved to Marion County, IN, in 1833. In the US Censuses of 1820 and 1830, Michael MOCK and George BEAVER names appear as near neighbors in Butler County, in Ross and St. Clair Townships, respectively, while Henry and Henry jr appear in neighboring Hanover Township. During the same years George BEAVER was paying taxes on 200 acres of real estate in Butler County, Michael MOCK apparently owned no land, but did pay personal property taxes on horses and cows. The same is true of George's adult sons and sons-in-law, Jacob LINGLE and Solomon BOWER.

U. S. Bureau of Land Management documents show that, on the same day -- April 17, 1833 -- Michael MOCK, George BEAVER, and several of George's sons and sons-in-law bought contiguous plots of government land, about 80 acres apiece, in the NE corner of Marion County, IN, and neighboring parts of Hamilton and Hancock Counties; the Eve BEEVER (sic) who also purchased land the same day may have been an unmarried daughter of Henry or of George, or perhaps a widow of one of Henry's sons. Most of these members of the extended BEAVER family, including Michael MOCK, made additional purchases in the same area a few years later. This land was to the southeast of land purchased earlier by Henry BEAVER (and/or or Henry jr), and a mile or so east of land purchased even earlier, in 1825, by Christopher BEAVER.

BEAVER genealogist Margie von Marenholtz says there is a family tradition among some descendants of Henry BEAVER (b abt 1752) that he had three wives (though this tradition may refer to Henry jr., b1796, who we know was married at least twice.) If so, it is possible Henry's first wive, Eva Catherine DRIESS(en)may have died before Anna Barbara married, at which time daughter Anna Barbara may have been taken in by her older sister Betsy's family when her father Henry remarried; that would explain why Davolt BEAVER, not Henry, signed the marriage-bond document. On the other hand, Mike Kloenne notes that the 1810 U. S. Census for NC, after Anna Barbara's marriage, shows the Henry's household having a female consistent with Eva Catherine's age, so there may be some different explanation.

Either upon remarriage, or before leaving NC for OH, Henry may have distributed an inheritance to the married children he was leaving behind. Sons George and Christian, who sold Henry's land in NC, were probably turning their inheritance, and that of their sisters, into cash to use to purchase land in Butler County, OH. The other heirs (which might have included the Michael MOCK after Anna Barbara died in 1821) probably bought Christopher's interest in the Butler County land when he moved to Indiana.

Where Beavers and Mocks Lived in Butler County, OH.

Property Tax records in Butler County, OH, show that George BEAVER paid taxes on a 200-acre tract in S7&8 R3 T1 from 1822 through 1832. In 1822 and before, this plot was listed as part of Ross Twp, and part of St. Clair township by 1828. In years 1828 through 1830 Henry BEAVER paid taxes on an 80-acre plot about 3 miles north and west of there -- the western half of the SW quarter of S35 R2 T4. The old George BEAVER 200-acre property is a strip that borders on the west side of the Miami River for about 1/3 of a mile about 2 miles directly south of Hamilton, OH, and runs west from there for about a mile.

Michael MOCK paid only personal property taxes (assessed on horses and cows) in Butler County during those years, and census records imply that his family probably lived on the 200-acre George BEAVER plot. It is possible that the land was owned jointly, but that George was the official payer of the taxes. The following paragraph from the book A History and Biographical Cyclopedia of Butler County, Ohio describes this property: "That part of St. Clair Township lying south of Hamilton was settled principally by Germans from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee, between the years 1802 and 1810. The island below the city was at an early day separated by a slough or bayou for the main land, and was owned by men whose deeds called for property adjacent on the west. There was about seventy-five acres between the slough and the river. (According to an 1835 map, the island just described was the section-8 portion of the tract owned before 1832 by George BEAVER.)

According to research by Mike KLOENNE, Michael MOCK bought government land in Ripley County, IN, shortly after moving to Ohio; possibly he intended to live there. This level farmland near Laugherty Creek is located about 2 miles NE of Versailles, IN, and about 2 miles west of Milan. In 1823, after Anna Barbara had died, the family did move for a short time to Ripley County, IN. On September 18, 1823, Michael's oldest daughter, Elizabeth MOCK, was married to Lawrence LINGLE, the son of Jacob Lingle -- a neighbor in both NC and OH. (Another son of Jacob LINGLE married one of George BEAVER's daughters.) There is a second marriage record in Ripley County, dated October 28, 1826, between Peter GANNON and Mary MOCK, which may be Michael's second-oldest daughter, b March 30, 1808. Michael MOCK then left the newlyweds in Ripley County and moved the rest of his family back to Butler County.

While in Butler County, the MOCKs, BEAVERs, and others in their mainly German community, were probably part of the St. Peters Lutheran Church, located about one mile north of the George BEAVER land. Anna Barbara was surely buried in the cemetery yard of that church, which is described in another passage from A History and Biographical Cyclopedia of Butler County, Ohio: "The St. Peter's Lutheran Church, one and a half miles south-west of Hamilton, was organized as early as 1806 by Germans, who had settled in this part of the township, from Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. Among the early members were the GARVERs, FISHERs, LINGLEs, CASTATORs, TROUTMANs, MITCHELLs, KYLEs, and SHELLHOUSEs. The first house was a log building, about sixteen by eighteen feet. The furniture was plain and simple. The fireplace was eight feet in width and five feet deep. As there was no regularly built school-house, at an early day the church was used for educational purposes also. It continued to fill both these requirements for about thirty-five years."

This would have been both the schoolhouse and the church building for all of the children of Michael MOCK and Anna Barbara BEAVER before they came to Indiana.