Karen hits Brick Wall . . . sort of
by Karen Zach
Thursday, March 26, 2020 7:39 AM - The Paper of Montgomery County Indiana online
Recently, I was checking the Brick Wall section of the Montgomery County GenWeb page (ingenweb.org/inmontgomery – please give credit to the page if you use anything from it) and realized my own “brick wall” I solved many moons ago was still on there so I took it off but got to thinking perhaps it would be a good ATC story, so here goes – enjoy!
Certainly, I’d not suggest you do this with common names like Smith or Jones as the research would get nuts, but it certainly worked with the Montgomery County (Waynetown, Wingate, New Richmond area) name, Westfall that went back to my own directs – old Jurian and Maria Cuddeback Westfall in Minisink, New York.
The step out of Montgomery County finding the path back to NY didn’t go far, though -- just to Putnam and before that to Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and you guessed it, finally the Minisink area. In fact, years ago, I first noticed the Westfall name here as I was working on the Revolutionary War soldiers when I was in DAR and wondered at the time about it. This is a bit odd as Montgomery AND Putnam counts Jacob Westfall as their Revolutionary Soldier. He’s buried right over the border, on the banks of Raccoon creek in a family cemetery on property (at that time) owned by his daughter and son-in-law, the David Swanks. However, since he had gotten grants in both counties, the family mainly considered him from Montgomery. He died 5 March 1835 and has memorials in both counties (ours in Oak Hill where he certainly was not buried; however, the findagrave listing says he’s “buried in Skillman Cemetery nearby” – which by the way is basically in Roachdale which isn’t all that “nearby”). He does have a stone there, though.
The Putnam County DAR seemed to not know about Jacob or felt he was already taken care of in our county but I do have him on the Putnam GenWeb page as I program it, as well. According to his grandson, he was with the Lewis & Clark Expedition – I don’t think this is correct but he did serve under Clark at Ft. Pitt.
It is known that Jacob was born to Jacob Sr. and Judith Hornbeck (also a Minisink, Orange Co NY family) on their 400 acres farm on the Potomac River. The family moved to Beverly, Virginia in 1772 and two years later, he and his father built the Westfall Fort.
He and wife had: Cornelius (1778); Reuben; Levi; Elizabeth; John; Anna; Mary and Janet (1799). Jacob served as a Justice of the Peace in Randolph County, West Virginia and the first sheriff there. In 1792 they moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In 1808, to Miami County Ohio and then in 1827 to Clinton Township, Putnam County, Indiana. He shows up on the 1830 Montgomery County census south of Ladoga on the Putnam-Montgomery line. Conflicting information says he died in Montgomery while others say Putnam. Jacob’s wife, Mary King Westfall lived six years after her husband passed.
It is interesting to note that of the above children only three stayed in Indiana (Levi – Boone County; Elizabeth Swank, Putnam and Mary Tiberghein also in Boone near Thorntown. Cornelius went to Macomb, Illinois and the others homesteaded in Iowa – Reuben in Des Moines; John in Mahaska County; Anna Anderson in Wapello; and Janet Mills in Jefferson. It was Janet’s son Frank Moody Mills who lived in Crawfordsville for about 20 years who wanted his grandfather to have the stone in Oak Hill. The number of grandchildren for the Westfalls were Cornelius: five daughters, one son; Reuben three daughters and six sons; Levi four sons and a daughter; Elizabeth three each; John two each; Anna two sons and one daughter; Mary the opposite, and Janet four sons and three daughters, totaling quite a sum, 20 granddaughters and 23 grandsons.
From this Revolutionary War soldier sprang a Captain in the War of 1812 (Reuben) and a private (John). Grandson Noah Webster Mills was born here and worked his way (as a printer) through Wabash College. As a Lt. in Co D, during the Civil War, he had just replaced Colonel Baker as commander when he was wounded in the foot that in a few days took his life. He is buried in Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines. His father, Daniel was a lawyer.
Some quick notations here before I run out of room: Cornelius helped establish the town of Dayton, Ohio then later surveyed and platted the town of Troy, Ohio. He served there in Miami County as the Clerk of Common Pleas for 24 years, quite a task in a political world. His only son, Elnathan was mustered out of the Civil War as a 2nd Lt. due to health problems. He was a doctor and politician. In 1934, a military headstone was ordered for Elnathan but in 1941 it was requested to be destroyed. Wow, that sounds like one great story, huh? He is buried in Bushnell, Illinois.
Reuben served as a Captain in the Ohio Militia, War of 1812 as a sharp shooter. After I did all the work, I found him just now on findagrave with all the heritage back to old Jurian. That’s okay it just substantiates. David and Elizabeth Westfall Swank are buried in the tiny Skillman cemetery with her father.
Certainly, this is an interesting family and it just continues on down to today. Although these people are quite far back cousins, I still thought it was mighty nifty to know that the Westfalls and their descendants of Putnam and Montgomery County all go back to the same old Jurian and Maria Cuddeback Westfall as I do. Rest In Peace, dear ancestors and cousins, too!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.