Saturday, July 27, 2013

Surname Saturday: Mary Ann, Last Name Unknown, wife of John Eckhart

Here it is, the whole week has gone by and it's time once again for my favorite blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers called Surname Saturday. If I don't get anything else "genealogy" done during the week, the week has been a success for me if Surname Saturday gets posted.

This week we launch into the 4th great grandmothers, with the 2nd and 3rd GGMs and a lot of the GGFs having already been covered in previous posts. If you want to check a surname, just type it in the search box over there on the right.

The featured celebrity ancestor today is an interesting woman. She was the wife of a wealthy and prominent man who owned an inn on the Old Pike in the early years of the 1800s, owned slaves and had a head for business, and who owned quite a bit of very valuable property in the area that's now known as Eckhart and Eckhart Mines, Allegany, Maryland. Mary Ann, his wife, however thought differently about the slaves and apparently tried to free them, especially her personal servant, Matilda, and her children. That caused a furor. But I'm getting ahead of the story. First, the line up stepping back through the generations. Here we go!

1. Diane Kelly Weintraub

2. Francis Patrick " Pat" Kelly
1916 - 2007
3. Virginia Williams, that's Mom, living and loving it!

4. John Lee "Lee" Kelly 1892 - 1969
5. Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly 1894 - 1985

8. Francis Patrick Kelly 1854 - 1923
9. Christiana Eckhart 1861 - 1932

18. John Eckhart 1831 - 1917
19. Mary Myers Eckhart 1837 - 1909
John Eckhart was born 5 Nov 1831 in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland and died 5 Mar 1917 in the same place. He married Mary Myers on 22 Apr 1859 in Allegany County, Maryland.
Mary Myers was born 20 Mar 1837 in Frederick County, Maryland and died 30 Oct 1909 in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland.
They had the following children:
9. Christiana Eckhart 1861 - 1932
Maggie L. Eckhart 1864 - ????. She married William Rechter.
Rachael Eckhart 1865 - 1940, who married Thomas W. Gracie, and then at his passing in 1909 in a horrible mining accident, she married Robert Strathan.
John Thomas Eckhart 1867 -1917. He married Rachael Pengilly.
Mary Catherine Eckhart 1868 - ????.

36. Jacob Eckhart 1801 - 1835/6
37. Delilah Porter 1812 - 1881
This couple were both born and died in Eckhart, Allegany, Maryland. We find it no end of fascinating that Jacob and his father, John, died in close proximity time-wise to each other. Some ancestors have floated the theory that both might have been poisoned in order to sell the estate to the big coal companies. Read on:)
They had the following children:
18. John Eckhart 1831 - 1917, who married first Mary Myers, and when she died, married Rebecca O'Brien.
Rachael Eckhart 1829 - 1895. She married Basil Anderson.

72. John Eckhart 1768 - 1835
73. Mary Ann ? Eckhart 1780 - 1850 (Find A Grave # 25555482)
John Eckhart inherited the bulk of his father's estate that wasn't reserved for his mother, aside from small items left to his siblings. It was just at the time that the National Road was being developed and he took advantage of its location running right through his property. He was appointed a road commissioner, for which he paid $300 a year fee to the state. In return he was to maintain the road and earned the right to keep a roadhouse, that served those who stopped. In the US Census of 1820 he owned 8 slaves, as he did in the 1830 Census. He was very prosperous.
When John Eckhart died in 1835, his wife, our mysterious Mary Ann who married John then 29 when she was just 17, inherited the bulk of his estate and then attempted to free the slaves. Her sons took her to court and tried to have her declared a "lunatic" and seize the property, including the slaves. She relented and kept the slaves in bondage, but thwarted the sons by moving to Monongahila County, West Virginia. Her will stipulated that the slaves were to be given their freedom upon her death.
Her son, Adam, took custody of seven of the eight slaves when his mother died in 1850. It is generally presumed that Maltilda, her favorite and personal woman servant, was already freed when Mary Ann died. The theory is that Mary Ann, after the dust-up with the sons fled to West Virginia to live with her son Adam and took Matilda.
Shortly after John's death, Mary Ann was approached by Matthew St. Clair Clarke, acting as an agent for a large coal mining conglomerate. He offered and paid $20,000 for the bulk of the Eckhart land. It was shortly thereafter that Mary Ann moved to West Virginia to live with her son Adam. She took that fortune, many millions of dollars in today's money, and her slaves with her.
The old Eckhart land, purchased for $20,000, held some of the best quality coal found anywhere during the 19th Century. This is called The Big Vein and produced millions of tons of coal from the 1830s until after WWI.
It is generally thought that there is miscegenation in this line and that the former Eckhart slave, Maria Johnson, who married Samuel Denson on 7 Jan 1868, in Cumberland Maryland, is a descendant from this line. If you are related to this line, please contact me at
John and Mary Ann's children are:
36. Jacob Eckhart 1801 - 1835/6
Mary Ann Eckhart 1806 - 1893. She married John Hansel and they moved away to Mallory Township, Clayton County, Illinois. Both are buried in the Hansel Cemetery there.
Adam Eckhart 1810 - 1891. He married Sarah Albright. They moved away to the Union District, Monongalia County, West Virginia.
John Eckhart 1824 - 1856. He married Sarah Hayes.
David Eckhart 1824 - 1854. (Find A Grave # 32156854)

That's all we know about Mary Ann. A comprehensive book by H Andrew Brown, "George Adam Eckhart and Philip Hansel of Allegany County, Maryland," sketches out what happened to Mary Ann after John died, and hints that the Adam Eckhart family and some Hansels moved on to Ohio after spending some years in Monongalia, Virginia (now West Virginia) and freed any remaining of their slaves in Ohio. Both Mary Ann and her son David are buried in the Hunt-Eckhart Cemetery, Morgantown, Monongalia County. Also in this cemetery are two boys, James T. who died at four years of age and John W. who died at two years of age. Perhaps Adam, his wife Sarah Albright, along with Adam's sister, Mary Ann and her husband John Hansel are all to be found buried in Ohio. Must say that I'm curious about this line of the family that moved on west.

The book by Brown does not shed any light on Mary Ann's maiden name or any details of her birth family or where they might have resided. Not much to go on. We're looking for a female born about 1780, probably in Western Maryland, probably of the German Lutheran faith. This lot stuck to their own.

The above are screen shots from Find A grave for:
Top: The Hunt-Eckhart Cemetery,
Bottom: Mary Ann ? Eckhart.

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