John Curly Penrod

Two screen shots of ancestry.ca Thrumatches. I have a growing count of 56 DNA matches with the Penrod family. Thrumatches goes back 5 generations but the Penrod family history was documented back to Johannes Wilhelm Poenradt Jun 18, 1770 at Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany who married Gertrude Delbert. He born June 19, 1700 immigrated from Germany at age 10 with the Palatine Emmigration and landed at New York. When they reached the American shore their name was changed to Penrod. Their 3 rd child of 9 was named John Benrath “Curly” Penrod June 15, 1726-1799. He was born in Frederick Co., Maryland. It is here in 1767 he affirmed Allegiance as a Citizen of the Colony of Maryland. He was listed as a German member of the congregation and took Communion with the Coconocheageu Congregation. His twelve children were all born in Frederick County, Maryland. This 6th grandfather of mine was a pioneer settler, trapper and Indian Scout in Pennsylvania. The French and English trappers were daring, adventurous men, ever ready and willing to brave the perils of the wilderness and risk their lives among the natives for the purpose of gain, wandering from point to point. Beaver pelts in the years 1746 to 1763 were at their highest prices. There were 40 to 60 million beavers basking in North America. John Penrod helped to deplete them! These fur trappers and hunters were the first white men to explore the area and set up camps and our John must have liked what he saw because he moved his family here. Situated between the Allegheny mountain and Laurel Hill, its hills and valleys had dense forest and green glades, covered in summer with grass, the beaver obstructed the streams and made larger ponds. Herds of deer and elk and wild turkeys made it a hunter’s paradise. Here John spent his fall and winter months. John Penrod married Catherine Barrone (known as Caty) in 1748. Caty would be left with the children John Jr., Mary, David, Drusilla, Peter, Emanuel, Tobias, Israel, Samuel, Solomon, and Eleazer Elijah to raise alone every winter as John went out hunting, crossing the Appalachian mountains. Gathering together the furs and pelts, John would return home for the double purpose of visiting his family and procuring supplies needed for the next season’s hunt.

Did John have to convince Caty to place their belongings with their children on ox teams and bid farewell to her friends in Maryland, or did she have a brave heart? It would be a long and toilsome journey, exposed to the weather and dangerous elements, pitching tents. Did they tell the children the story of the Israelite’s coming out of Egypt to the promise land?

A number of hunters located in the Glades, near the center of the county, where the present town of Somerset, Pennsylvania, now stands, about the year 1765. Their names were Sparks, Cole, Penrod, White, Wright and Cox. The latter appears to be the leader of the party and gave his name to the creek which flows through the Glades. They brought their families to their claims and became permanent residents. The loneliness, the dreariness and the desolation of this region in 1770’s; with woods and wild beasts and constant danger from the natives. Pack horse trails were the principle route of travel. There were no stores or mills in any part of the vast territory of Bedford county (by 1795 called Somerset Co.) and Quemahoning, the township name meaning pine tree lick. Frequently long journeys over mountains to the eastern settlements had to be made for supplies. Salt and sugar were luxuries. Tea and coffee rarely on the table.

The hunting seasons continued. The best meats were cut and preserved by cutting flesh in strips from the bone, drying it over a fire then rubbing with a little salt and ashes and hung in smoke to cure. The skins were dried and were the wealth of the hunter. The slaughter of the deer were immense and the wolves feasted and nightly treated the family to a howling serenade along with wails of the stealthy panther. As more settlers poured in, eventually game became scarce and the land was put to crops and cattle brought in which gave them milk and butter.

In 1775 John Penrod made two land applications one for 400 acres, another for 250 acres at Cox’s Creek, Milford Township, Bedford County, 3 miles southeast of Somerset where lived also John Jr. and John Sr. son-in-law John Vansel married to daughter Mary. Here the family lived for 25 years; they must have had strong arms and stout hearts.

Although on the remote frontier the settlers were aware of the growing discontent between Britain and her colonies. When the news of the battle of Lexington reached the mountain glades, in the spring of 1776 a company of riflemen was enlisted here and marched off to war. The British had incited the hostility of the Indians against the colonists. and some moved their families away. By the fall of 1777 the settlers returned. After the country had been left bare and depleted of men and arms by the departure of Captain Brown’s Company, wolves became so numerous and troublesome than an association was formed to promote their destruction. Organized in May 1777, on the list of names is John Penrod Sr. and Jr. and a bounty paid out on the wolves. A day or two away reports of settlers harassed by Indian forays were reported and two forts put up. The strain and anxiety can be imagined! On Jan 20, 1788 a letter was written asking to raise 30 men for the defense of the settlement called the Glades. There was little improvement in the situation. During the years 1777 and 78 an immigration of a different sort occurred. Tories – those that sided with Britain came, refused to take the oath of allegiance, were fined or jailed and they came to the remote settlements looking for relief from persecution. After the war they moved to Canada. The Dunkards, German Baptist, Amish and Mennonite came also to the settlement between the two mountains as they did not bear arms or take part in wars. Around this time a mill was built. By Feb 1779, the threats was not over from the Indians. “Scanty harvest and to prepare another but they were so often driven in to the forts it was but little they could do.” The winter of 1779-80 was a heavy fall of snow. 4-5 feet on the level. “The horses may perish before grass comes again”. The deep snow brought security from attack until the spring. In 1780 no attack was made on the Glade settlement but many were killed nearby and with the warmth of the sun the snow disappeared and fear of Indian invasions were once more renewed. A general panic and the people fled. There was no money and only one week’s provisions at the fort. March 1783 “A very small number of families had clung to their homes in spite of last year’s alarms and the exodus that had taken place. These had chiefly been the early hunters. ” John Rhoade’s the Penrod’s neighbor said it this way in his German speech, “mother said she would not go”. Then came the news that the Revolutionary War was over.

The John Penrod family were part of the Quemohoning Seventh Day Baptist Church. It met in the Penrod home and was called the Penrod Church. John’s estate inventory indicated he had amassed quite a sum of money and was the unofficial community banker; 3 pages of loans and bonds were attached to his will. His estate he willed to his wife Catherine and then to be equally distributed among the children. He was listed on the tax role of Quemahoning Township, PA in 1796. His taxes would have gone to pay for the Court House in the town of Somerset of stone, 44 feet in front on Main Cross Street and 40 feet deep on Union Street for the sum of $5600. He died by April 13, 1799 when his will was probated and was buried at age 72 at Milford, Somerset Co., PA at Ed Pritt’s Farm.

Last Will of John Penrod paraphrased: I, John Penrod, of Quemahoning Township County of Somerset, State of Pennsylvania, being weak in body but sound of mind, blessedly by Almighty God for the same make this my last will. I order my estate to be divided equally amongst my children, male and female all equal. Caty Penrod, my wife to have 1/3 of the whole. It is my will that my son Israel shall not be charged yet with monies i gave him to pay his doctor bill in York Co and expenses when he got his legs and thighs broken. Israel also bequeathed all my blacksmith tools. Israel and James Wells executors I set my hand and seal the 19th day of May 1798. Witnesses: Thomas Faith, Jacob Franhizer, John Alexander admitted to probate April 13, 1799. Caty went to live in Kentucky and in Feb 27, 1811, Israel Penrod gave power of attorney to Emanuel Penrod to collect and get an accounting from Daniel Rhoades of all property left in his possesstion by the late Catherine Penrod, wife of John Penrod.

As you read did you feel that John was a very spiritual man with a great love for his family and quite well off for those days? Below is a picture of my dad John Waddell. Looks like he may have fit right with the Penrod family of the 1700’s. He’s wearing a deerskin jacket and the beard protected him from the harsh winter snow sunburns.

Johannes Wilhem Poenradt: John Penrod married Catherine Barrone, Israel Penrod, Peter V Penrod, David Penrod, Angeline Catherine Penrod married James Alexander Wise; Lydia Ruth Wise married George Arthur Gibbs; Olive Vivian Gibbs married Gordon Reid Waddell; John Gordon Waddell married Verna Jeane Miller; me Wendy Harty married Brendan Harty. 10 generations Who Knew?

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